NEWS22 May 2009

Nielsen and TiVo execs chew over cross-media measurement differences

Data analytics North America

US— Nielsen Online’s media analytics boss has questioned the ability of DVR company TiVo to offer cross-media measurement using its panel of subscribers.

In a video webcast on this week, Jon Gibs, vice president of media analytics for Nielsen Online, discussed media research matters with Todd Juenger, who heads up TiVo’s research division.

Ratings giant Nielsen has talked up the potential of integrating its research activities for the ‘three screens’ – TV, online and mobile – to give a full picture of viewing behaviour. Gibs said the very nature of TiVo’s sample meant it could not offer “true” cross-media measurement of this sort. “Because by definition TiVo is a sub-segment of the audience and a sub-segment of the US population,” he said, “the degree to which you're able to take your data and overlap it with any internet source to show any type of true US representativeness is going to be minimised, because by definition the person has to go out and buy the box, pay the money to have the box subscribed… that creates a biased sample, and therefore you can't truly have cross-media measurement, based on that fact, of a US representative sample.”

Juenger responded by saying that TiVo had no illusions about the nature of its sample, but denied this meant it could not offer a valuable service. “We fully understand that we are TiVo and our database is from TiVo, it is what it is, we don't try and pretend that it’s not,” said Juenger. “What we hear from the marketplace is that if you guys can find a way to bring something to the market that puts that together, that’s more valuable than not having anything. There are some things about TiVo subscribers that we could debate makes them potentially biased and non-representative; there are other things where we can make a pretty strong argument that there’s no reason it would be any different just because they're TiVo subscribers.”

He also brushed off media suggestions that TiVo’s <a href=>foray into local ratings</a> was evidence that it was “aiming squarely at Nielsen”. “The media’s fascination with the chance that somebody might be ‘aiming squarely at Nielsen’ is insatiable,” he said. “There is nothing about my business plan that has anything to do with the success of Nielsen’s effort – the products are different by nature… None of the pitch to anybody has anything to do with what Nielsen is doing.”

TiVo’s service, he said, complemented Nielsen’s ratings by offering larger samples and the ability to see data for timeshifted viewing and for particular commercials, rather than 15-minute segments. Juenger added that TiVo and Nielsen have an amicable relationship and are both open to discussing ways of working together.

Follow us on Twitter