Nielsen Total Audience: Putting TV, Radio and Digital On Level Playing Field

Total Audience was a hot topic at this year’s Consumer 360, and Steve Hasker’s panel of industry experts kicked of the event’s general sessions.
Total Audience was a hot topic at this year’s Consumer 360, and Steve Hasker’s panel of industry experts kicked of the event’s general sessions.

Total Audience is much more than a concept. Nielsen’s Total Audience vision is to create an environment where all video content and ads can be consistently measured. Over the course of 2015, we’ll begin to make our vision a reality.

After all, these days consumers—be it binge watchers, TV traditionalist or cord-cutters–have more control over their viewing than ever before. Media companies and marketers are adapting to the new realities of what and when people watch.

But how does the industry compare and measure over different devices and platforms in an equitable and fair manner? After all, players in the tech sector often rely on reach while networks use viewing in the average minute as the basis for many advertisement deals.

Nielsen’s Q1 2015 Total Audience Report spoke to this challenge, putting the different ways consumers are connecting with content on a level playing field. In fact, the report provides the industry with a fair, focused and comparable look into how many unique consumers different devices are reaching weekly, how often these devices are accessed and how long adults are spending with these devices. For instance, over 90% of U.S. adults listen to the radio each week—more than any other device or platform.

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We didn’t stop there.

At a panel discussion titled Total It Up: Counting the Total Audience during this year’s Consumer 360, Glenn Enoch, Nielsen’s SVP of Insights and Analysis, sat down with Dave Coletti, VP of Digital Media Research and Analytics, ESPN and Lisa Heimann, VP of multiplatform research for ABC and ABC Studios, to discuss this industry need of in the wake of media fragmentation and device proliferation.

Content is everywhere these days, noted Heimann, and providing a line of sight to the total audience of video is crucial to monetization.

“Video is not in one place. It’s in many places all the time. Step one is getting it all measured and step two is getting it all sliced so we can sell it,” said ABC’s Heimann.

But more content options and more devices means more data points. Addressing how the industry and clients can leverage this massive amount of data in an effective, seamless and relative manner is crucial.

“It’s about value and an exchange of value. I think the value that I see is twofold: to have some level of standardization and transparency and the other is context. I have trillions of data points about how people move across content. But how does that compare with the industry. We may gain here or there, but how does that compare across the market,” said ESPN’s Coletti.

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