Any attempt to more comprehensively measure the increasingly complex video viewing landscape must by definition reflect that same complexity. Methodologically that is extremely challenging but in this case things are made more difficult by the fact that it is outside the control of Nielsen to manage consistent implementation of the methods it is seeking to adopt. That’s a problem.
While nothing is wholly perfect it has to be fit for purpose and critical to any measurement system is the ability to compare all things measured in a systematic way, using the same metrics. But as networks themselves decide where and even if they install the necessary software to make total viewer measurement viable, it’s going to take time and a lot of work by all involved to get to the kind of level of consistent implementation necessary for success. Everybody wants this kind of system, but no-one likes the risk of doing things differently.
But let’s not forget that while – if successful – the new approach stands to offer a joined up view of how content is consumed across platforms (with some caveats), it still only measures numbers of viewers. Measurement needs to evolve to include an accounting for the fact that viewers have different relationships with different shows and what that means for ad effectiveness. That’s where we need to go next.