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TV Ratings Agency Nielsen Will Begin Measuring Online Streaming

Posted: February 21, 2013

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The company said their mission is to "measure video content however consumers access it." The company had been pressured to make the move by the TV industry.

Nielsen, the company that provides television ratings, is catching up with the times: It said that in the fall, it would begin including online streaming in its ratings.

That is it will begin counting those people who watch TV shows using services such as Hulu and Netflix.

According to Wired, Nielsen said its job is to "measure video content however consumers access it."

The New York Times reports:

"The change, Nielsen said in a statement, was necessary to 'more completely reflect media consumption.' It comes nearly two years after Nielsen said it was thinking about redefining the term 'TV household' to include those that stream shows. The industry's collective sense of urgency has increased as new Web services like Aereo have allowed people to watch TV channels, ads and all, without a cable subscription or an antenna.

"The new definition 'will include those households who are receiving broadband Internet and putting it onto a television set,' said Pat McDonough, the senior vice president for insights and analysis at Nielsen. Currently a 'television set' is the flat-screen kind, but in the future a tablet computer like an iPad could also be considered a TV set."

The Los Angeles Times reports Nielsen is reacting to industry pressure.

"It is imperative for us that Nielsen as soon as possible incorporate these new forms of distribution into the overall measurement system," CBS Chief Research Officer David Poltrack told the LA Times.

CBS News reports that, in the past, 99 percent of homes watched television through traditional means — through an antenna or cable or satellite. But, now, 4.2 percent of homes have cut the cord, if you will. The new definition of "TV household," reports CBS, will "add roughly 160 homes to Nielsen's current sample of 23,000 houses nationwide with meters monitoring viewing habits."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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