Following its $1.3 billion acquisition of radio ratings firm Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio) in September 2013, Nielsen has rolled a piece of that company into a test to attribute out-of-home viewing to TV ratings uplift.
The MVP of the particular test that ran between April and June of this year was the Portable People Meter (PPM), a panel-based device developed first in 2007 by Arbitron for radio measurement.
“We were excited to own that in-house because of the implications for out-of-home viewing we can add,” said Matt O’Grady, EVP and managing director at Nielsen Local Media. “It’s a device that our panel respondents carry with them throughout the day so you can capture media exposure wherever they are.”
Measuring TV viewing patterns out-of-home has been a black hole for networks. Although broadcasters know their audience is fragmented, determining the precise time in which there is marked viewer attrition is critical in nuancing their sponsorships by daypart.
But another obvious beneficiary is the advertiser.
“Out-of-home [viewers] are very valuable audiences for advertisers because they are probably closer to the point of purchase than in-home,” O’Grady said. “Capturing viewers whether they’re in or out of home, [irrespective of] device or medium, is Nielsen’s objective.”
In the first PPM test by Nielsen, the measurement firm turned its attention to Chicago, where there are 3,000 panel members. The total number of panelists nationwide is about 75,000; there are 48 geographic markets in total.
By combining Nielsen Local People Meter panel data with PPM audience data, Nielsen was able to determine out-of-home viewing resulted in a 7-9% lift in ratings for audiences in the 25-54-year-old range for English- and Spanish-speaking men and women.
Nielsen drilled down into select dayparts and showed daytime and primetime ratings were positively impacted when individuals viewed television on the go. Additionally, there was a notable increase in sports ratings of 14% (the highest of any genre, including news and entertainment) attributed to out-of-home viewing.
“People tend to watch sports in group settings at bars or restaurants, so we were able to quantify that, and along with numerous sporting events going on in Chicago, hockey was heading into playoffs, baseball [was] starting and in major markets you saw movement around sports ratings in general heading into the World Cup,” O’Grady said.
Nielsen’s next steps are to turn the “test” into more of a pilot phase, and potentially extend that to more geographic markets. This comes on the heels of the firm’s launch of mobile online campaign ratings and mobile TV measurement in the fall.
“Our intent is to take all viewing – tablet, iPhone, over-the-top and smart devices, gaming consoles – and if it’s encoding content, we want to capture it and add all those numbers together to prove to the advertiser how content and ads are being consumed today,” O’Grady said.