Nielsen to Begin Counting Mobile Viewing Audiences in TV Ratings

Nielsen, the provider of television ratings used to calculate payments by advertisers, will begin counting some mobile viewing of shows as broadcast and cable networks make more programs available online.

TV shows that are viewed through some digital formats and within certain time frames will be counted starting in the TV season that begins in September 2014, the company, part of Nielsen Holdings NV, said today in a blog post.

The move gives TV networks a way to aggregate viewing on various screens, providing a fuller count as traditional audiences are fragmented by Web-connected sets, tablet computers and smartphones. Nielsen ratings help to determine billions of dollars in advertising payments.

“This unified encoding approach for video enables measurement to follow content across screens and ad models,” Megan Clarken, a Nielsen executive vice president, said in the blog post.

Nielsen will use digital markers to track shows viewed online, working with data providers such as Facebook Inc. Some viewing won’t be eligible for Nielsen’s TV ratings because too much time has elapsed for credit, the shows carry so-called dynamic ads that are inserted in real-time and target viewers like Web ads, or the content originated online. Those will be measured separately through Nielsen Digital Ratings.

Through four weeks of this year’s TV season, broadcast network audiences have climbed 2.4 percent to an average 8.2 million viewers a night in prime time, according to Nielsen data. Viewers ages 18 to 49, a group sought by advertisers, are little changed during the same time period.

Nielsen, based in New York, was little changed at $39.04 in New York on Oct. 25. The stock has increased 28 percent this year.

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