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Nielsen NV: SVOD stats are the ‘New Black’ (ink)

Written By | Nov 19, 2014

WASHINGTON, November 19, 2014 – In a development that’s been long in coming, Netherlands-based Nielsen NV (ticker symbol: NLSN)—the information and measurement services company best known for its crucial TV viewership measuring services—has announced that it will measure streaming video on demand (SVOD) services for the very first time, starting in the month of December.

As they have done for decades for TV networks and eventually for cable channels, Nielsen will begin to add big streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime to its stats. As PR flacks like to say on promos for TV series, “this episode changes everything.”

Without needing permission from Netflix, Amazon, and other purveyors of streaming video, Nielsen has developed a method to “analyze a program’s audio components to identify which shows are being streamed,” according to Deadline Hollywood which cites the Wall Street Journal (behind a pay wall) for the news.

Currently, neither major service discloses viewership numbers. Nielsen’s new stats could be a welcome eye-opener for potential advertisers and investors as to how well various shows are doing when accessed via download after their original airing. It could also provide some key insights into just how popular the original series produced by streaming services, such as Amazon’s “Alpha House,” and Netflix’ “House of Cards” really are.

According to the Journal, Nielsen has already compiled documentation strongly indicating

that time spent on streaming services is cannibalizing traditional television viewing. Late last month, Bernstein Research analyst Todd Juenger issued a compelling report saying that big media shot itself in the foot by selling shows to Netflix. Juenger is alarmed by what he calls the ‘unprecedented’ drop in C3 ratings across ad-supported TV,  especially among the key 18-49 demographic. ‘We don’t think those viewers are coming back,’ he wrote. ‘The trend is more likely to accelerate than decline.’

This could all get very interesting, both from a viewing standpoint and a profit standpoint. Don’t miss the next thrilling episode.

The cast from the TV show “Orange is the New Black” at The Paley Center For Media’s PaleyFest 2014 Honoring

Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17