Nielsen’s much-anticipated cross-platform measurement solution, Nielsen One Ads, will be rolled out to the market on Jan. 11, the firm revealed Wednesday.
The new solution, which has been in development since 2020, aims to provide a consistent way to measure audiences across platforms as viewership shifts away from linear TV and towards digital streaming environments.
Nielsen One Ads will be available in the U.S. and will offer consistent and deduplicated measurement of viewership across linear TV, connected TV, mobile and desktop. It will also include the ability to measure and manage for reach and frequency.
The new solution will enable linear TV measurement on a second-by-second basis, bringing it in line with digital. For digital campaigns, Nielsen One ads will offer “always-on” measurement. Both will be enabled by combining Nielsen One’s proprietary ID system and its panel-based data with data ingested from set-top box providers, smart TV companies and social media firms.
The second-by-second linear TV data can only be used for research and planning — minute-based linear TV measurement will remain the currency for buying media.
Nielsen will use its panel data to validate data ingested from third parties and link devices to individuals. This is one way its solution is differentiated from its competitors, SVP of product management Kim Gilberti said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“The presence of Nielsen panel data that provides us with an opportunity to have a truth set to correct against any biases in the data is critical to what we are doing here and makes the solution very different,” Gilberti said.
The measurement firm also claims to offer the most extensive coverage across platforms, services and devices.
“There are many competitors out there that are focused on a particular platform or area of measurement. What Nielsen One is providing is a holistic view across every platform,” Gilberti said.
Later this year, Nielsen will offer the ability to calculate advanced audience outcomes for end-to-end campaigns, from ad exposure to purchase.
Nielsen will also debut Nielsen One Content Alpha at CES in Las Vegas this week. The product offers cross-platform, deduplicated and syndicated content measurement to offer an aggregated view of performance. Eventually, Nielsen One and Nielsen One Alpha will bridge linear and digital measurement into a single system that allows advertisers to plan and buy media using a single metric.
A long time coming
Advertisers have spent years urging Nielsen to innovate on its panel-based measurement system, which has remained the de-facto TV viewing currency, despite not capturing digital viewership fully.
When Nielsen announced development of its new product in Dec. 2020, it pledged to transform measurement in the $70 billion linear TV marketplace by fall 2024. Wednesday’s announcement puts it on track with its timeline to begin rolling out Nielsen One in late 2022 and begin the industry’s transition away from C3 and C7 ratings for linear TV.
But it’s been a bumpy road for Nielsen as it works to secure its future.
In Sept. 2021 Nielsen lost its Media Ratings Council (MRC) accreditation for linear and digital TV after miscounting viewership during the pandemic. National TV was the third service Nielsen lost MRC accreditation for that year, including its Digital Ad Ratings and local TV ratings. Nielsen still has not re-obtained the MRC badge.
It was around that time that major TV networks began testing new measurement partners. In September, NBCUniversal put out an RFP for new measurement providers and sparked an industry search for more advanced solutions.
That month, Campaign US broke the news of a large-scale pilot test that Nielsen competitor VideoAmp had kicked off with all of the major holding companies. Since then, the firm has inked partnerships with major networks including ViacomCBS and more recently Warner Bros. Discovery. Meanwhile in January 2022, NBCU announced it would work with iSpot.TV to test its products and measure the Super Bowl and Olympics that year.
Despite the turmoil, ad buyers are still supportive of Nielsen and the development of its new product. After all, the industry has legacy systems and procedures built around Nielsen and are accustomed to working with the firm.
Nielsen’s Gilberti said feedback from clients who have trialed the product has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
GroupM said in a statement provided to Campaign US: “It’s good to see that incumbent Nielsen’s offering is finally ready for prime-time and we’ll have multiple competitive solutions for Upfront 23/24.”
“Upon launch, we will continue to evaluate Nielsen One alongside competing cross-screen solutions to determine the best options for our clients and intend to have a comprehensive plan in place when the cross-screen switch ‘flips’ next year,” added Brian Hughes, EVP, managing director, audience intelligence and strategy at Magna, a launch partner for Nielsen One.
Still, the industry has moved on from the notion of working with just one currency and measurement provider for TV, and sees a future where it must work with multiple vendors.
“We are hopeful that Nielsen One will be a viable contender along with the other emerging players in this space, as a viable way for us to plan on, transact on and measure cross-screen video viewership,” said David Campanelli, chief investment officer at Horizon Media.