May 11, 2007
Nielsen Looking to Create Accurate Way to Measure Online Video Consumption

News broke earlier this week that Nielsen was moving forward with the next step into online measurement, this time with an online video measurement service. The measurement system will be called VideoCensus, focusing on the viewing of online video.

The press release calls it "the first-ever syndicated online video measurement service to combine panel and census research methodologies and provide an end-to-end account of audience size, demographic composition, engagement and competitive activity."

The plan is to combine the desktop meter Nielsen already has with SiteCensus content-tagging technology, provides a chance to obtain "granular insight into viewer engagement with specific video channels, programs, and clips." They promote that their measurement is platform-objective.

A lot of big words, and some of them are buzzwords even, but what does it mean? It's hard to know yet because, as MediaWeek's Katy Bachman points out in a story about the release that helps summarize the press release (no new information is presented), data won't be made publicly available until as late as October. The first report was issued to clients back in January, according to Nielsen.

As I pointed out last month, Nielsen plans to increase its national sample by almost 29 percent over the next few years in order to better provide for an increasingly splintered media landscape. I wrote, "Considering the proliferation of choices available and the fact that there are shows averaging a 0.0 in the ratings, there is a strong need for something that gives some more accurate ratings reflection as to what these numbers mean in the era of niche target marketing."

Considering current battles over Long Tail business models (see this post about SOAPnet, for instance), among other issues, Nielsen has been trying to be proactive in retaining its position as the currency the television industry trades on, and now to help cross media platforms into online video and other spaces as well.

See their other initiatives I wrote about back in February here.

Also, see my post a few days ago about Nielsen's release of the most timeshifted broadcast network television shows.