Nielsen is finally conceding that there’s a whole new world of TV consumption out there: Starting this fall, according to Variety, the service will factor online screening into their ratings. This should be a great boon to TV ad rates, right? (More viewers equals more money they can charge advertisers.) Not quite: Nielsen will only count online viewings that include the exact number and sequence of ads as appeared on the televised broadcast, ruling out Hulu and official network sites like ABC.com, which air fewer and different commercials. Currently, the only sites this would affect would be Comcast’s Fancast Xfinity, and Time Warner Cable’s nascent site TV Everywhere. Well, that doesn’t help anybody, does it?
Maybe it will in the future. Initially, TV networks made deals with Hulu because they were losing ad dollars on TV, so going online with minimal advertising was a Hail Mary to get more eyes on their shows. But now that those online streams have the potential to jack up their ad quotes, the networks might be more adamant about making sure that future deals mandate showing all the ads. And online, networks can make it so people can’t fast forward through the ads, unlike with a DVR (even though, it turns out, many people don’t skip ahead anyway: Why, people, why?). In other words, with computers taking us back to the days of forced commercial breaks, perhaps all those young viewers who abandoned TV will come scurrying back. How soon until new broadcasting technology drives them back to radio plays?
Nielsen to Combine TV, Online Ratings [Variety]