Nielsen says it will test online TV ratings

Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) said it will begin measuring online audiences for TV shows in a test with several major networks. The pilot program is to run May through July and A&E, ABC, AOL (NYSE: AOL), CBS (NYSE: CBS), The CW, Discovery, FOX, NBC and Univision will participate.

"It's an important step toward reaching the 'holy grail' of true cross-platform measurement," Alan Wurtzel, president of research and media development at NBCUniversal, said in a news release. "The potential to measure video viewing of specific programs on linear TV as well as the Internet is significant."

Nielsen is calling the pilot program Digital Program Ratings. It said it will use the same measurement techniques it already uses in its Online Campaign Ratings to deliver overnight audience data that is similar to its traditional TV ratings product. At first, the project will focus on TV shows watched online. Later, different content and devices will be supported, the company said.

For more:
- see the release
- the Wall Street Journal had this story (sub. req.)

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