NEWS26 July 2011

Nielsen to licence Kantar’s DirecTView data for local measurement

New business North America

US— Nielsen is to licence set-top box data from rival Kantar Media’s DirecTView service for use in local TV audience measurement, the companies have said.

The Kantar data, via digital satellite broadcaster DirecTV, is “one of many sources” that Nielsen is plugging into a new hybrid methodology that combines return path data from set-top boxes with its panel-sourced national people meter information as a more accurate means of measuring TV habits in local markets that currently rely on diary-based methods of research.

Steve Hasker (pictured), Nielsen’s president of media products and advertiser solutions, said this approach “addresses the technological limitations of using set-top box data alone”.

Although set-top box data provides a complete view of which TV channels a box is tuned to, it falls short of being able to tell advertisers how many people were watching the TV at a given time. Also, in many cases data is anonymous and aggregated meaning demographic data is absent or has to be modelled.

Kantar Media’s relationship with DirecTV began in 2006 (back when the company was known as TNS Media Research) with Kantar analysing aggregated and anonymous viewing data from 250,000 of the satellite firm’s customers. Nielsen followed with a similar deal a year later (though the status of that agreement is unknown at the time of publication), however Kantar expanded its arrangement with DirecTV in 2008 to recruit an opt-in panel of 100,000 customers to enable both viewing data and demographic information to be collected.

Update: Nielsen’s senior vice president of product leadership Patrick Dineen had this to say when asked about the status of the 2007 Nielsen/DirecTV data sharing agreement: “As a matter of policy, we do not share the details of agreements with clients and partners. Nielsen consistently seeks out new relationships and innovations that will enable us to enhance our services and currently works with every major provider of return path data. The agreement with Kantar Media does not build upon or detract from any other relationships or agreements we’ve made in the past.”