Nilelsen Launch Out-of-Home TV Viewing Service with ESPN as First Client

NielsenNielsen have announced the commercial availability of its out of home (OOH) reporting service in the  US and that ESPN has subscribed to be the first client. Nielsen will use their Portable People Meter (PPM) technology and panelists to measure out-of-home viewing for national television clients. Clients will receive audience estimates that combine in-home television viewing, based on Nielsen’s National TV ratings panel, with out-of-home viewing based on its PPM panels. The service is likely to be particularly useful for sports and live events broadcasters who know that much of the additional viewing takes place outside of the home.

“ESPN worked with Nielsen 20 years ago to pioneer the first iteration of out-of-home TV measurement. This new advancement using passive, real-time technology represents a significant leap forward. We know that ESPN is viewed virtually anywhere there is a screen – from sports bars to gyms, hotels and the workplace. While C3, C7 and beyond are useful to measuring catch-up viewing in the home, this new service gives us the ability to capture out-of-home viewing precisely as it happens, and helps us double down on the power and delivery of live sports, while transacting on new, valuable audience segments for advertisers,” said Artie Bulgrin, Senior Vice President, Global Research & Analytics, ESPN.

The National Out-of-Home reporting service leverages Nielsen’s PPM technology from nearly 77,000 installed panelists. This data will derive from 44 local TV markets in the US, enabling Nielsen to project what people watch outside of the home across 65 percent of the US TV household population.

The PPM device’s portability enables Nielsen to measure TV viewing outside of the home including locations such as bars, restaurants, hotels, gyms and second homes, so broadcasters will be able to quantify the ratings lift produced by linear TV viewing from outside of the home. The service will be opt-in and broadcasters/networks that subscribe will get programme and commercial ratings for live through to live + 7 days of time-shifted viewing.

The announcement has been well received by analysts who believe it will favour both broadcasters and Nielsen themselves. Brian Wieser, Senior Analyst at Pivotal Research, said, “Advertisers are already generally aware that programming is consumed outside homes, and that awareness is incorporated into existing CPMs and / or volume commitments that advertisers make to secure their existing mixes of inventory. Previously established pricing commitments will likely have been made on the in-home-only estimates, and baseline CPMs would probably need to be ratcheted down before marketers who would be willing to use the Out-of-Home data would accept it as part of the currency they trade on. For other marketers, comparability against other networks will be more important, meaning that lowest-common-denominator (in-home-only) metrics will retain their importance. So while there are positive elements to Out-of-Home ratings for ESPN and Disney (or any other network who subscribes to the service), it is marginal at best.

“For Nielsen, the news is arguably better. Given the so-far limited launch and active criticism from some network owners of Total Content Ratings, the announcement of an agreement to launch a different (and similarly long-awaited) product can be viewed favourably. While the financial impact of networks subscribing to Out-of-Home ratings will not likely alter the company’s existing revenue trajectory, we note that Disney has been one of Nielsen’s more vocal detractors over the past couple of years. With this agreement, Disney may have less of interest in attacking Nielsen, as those attacks could impact the credibility of the data that Disney will now be encouraging marketers to use. If that interest holds, it would lead to fewer negative headlines from the press and analysts related to Nielsen in the near future,” he added.

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