In response, Nielsen is now offering such information in a raw format so agencies and their clients can analyze data and process through their own proprietary systems. The raw data shows not just how many viewers are watching between shows, but also how old they are, their economic status and the size of their household.
Minute-by-minute data is seen as crucial to both marketers and agencies because it gives greater insight into how many people are watching commercials. Though there is still some debate as to whether minute-by-minute data really represents true commercial ratings, because commercials last anywhere between five seconds to 30 seconds and the minute-by-minute information is aggregated.
Nevertheless agencies are welcoming the move toward greater clarity over viewing patterns. John Rash, chief broadcast negotiator at Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, said: “Data is the lifeblood of the analysis of most media forms. The more accurate the data, the better the decisions can be made. It can be a win for marketers and broadcasters. It enhances confidence in the media form.”
Nielsen is currently negotiating with some of the major advertising holding companies to sell the new data package. The measurement firm is releasing the data on a weekly basis from the National People Meter sample and the National Hispanic People Meter sample. Nielsen was unable to comment immediately on whether it yet has clients for the new service.
“As television distribution and programming choices become increasingly complex, there is an urgent need for detailed viewing information. Our goal is to offer our clients greater choice in the research tools they can use to buy, sell, evaluate, promote and analyze commercial TV in the U.S.,” said Susan Whiting, president-CEO, Nielsen.