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Nielsen to Expand Definition of TV Viewing; What Does This Mean For Your Favorite Shows?


We’ve all been there. We’ve fallen in love with a show only to see it bomb the next morning when the Nielsen ratings are released. People have been saying the system is outdated for years and that it needs to be updated and it looks like we might be getting our wish, or at least the first, small step toward it.

On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that after a meeting in New York this week, the Nielsen Co. has decided to expand its definition of television ratings and will introduce a comprehensive plan to capture all video viewing, including broadband, Xbox and iPads.

So what does this mean for our favorite shows? While The Vampire Diaries just scored the #1 spot on the list of Most Social Show on Broadcast Television for the second time in four weeks, it’s still not exactly burning up the Nielsen charts. Luckily The CW takes these things into account more than any other network, but ratings and bottom lines still matter and Nielsen is attempting to find ways to make alternative viewing options count as part of the official rating system.

According to THR, “By September 2013, when the next TV season begins, Nielsen expects to have in place new hardware and software tools in the nearly 23,000 TV homes it samples. Those measurement systems will capture viewership not just from the 75 percent of homes that rely on cable, satellite and over the air broadcasts but also viewing via devices that deliver video from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, from so-called over-the-top services and from TV enabled game systems like the X-Box and PlayStation.”

While none of this is set in stone or officially confirmed since Nielsen did not comment on THR’s story, it is good news because we all know the system is broken and needs to be fixed. THR also said that “Nielsen is said to have an internal goal of being able to measure video viewing on an iPad by the end of this year, a process in which the company will work closely with its clients.”

Stay tuned.

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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