Charting OTT's audience: stats from Rentrak, comScore, Nielsen

What are online audiences watching this year? How are they engaging with their content across platforms? In this quarterly update we'll present some raw stats released by online audience measurement firms including comScore, Rentrak and Nielsen.

Nielsen just began measuring online video viewing in earnest back in December, placing sniffers out on the networks to identify OTT traffic from normally ratings-shy providers like Netflix and Amazon. Its rankings aren't out, but the firm does churn out a number of reports to the public based on its findings.

One type of measurement Nielsen and Rentrak are taking seriously is the concept of "digital engagement." In both firms' cases, it's the amount that viewers take to the social media sphere during a broadcast program to talk about the action taking place on the screen.

As Nielsen explains in a recent post, "increases in conversation on Twitter during live programming signal that there is high engagement with programming among the general viewing audience."

Rentrak has also found that to be the case, and includes what it calls "TV Engagement" among its weekly measurement reports.

Below are a number of charts and stats released by these top three measurement firms over the first quarter of 2015. We're also including some charts released as part of comScore's new report, U.S. Digital TV Future In Focus 2015. Those are the colorful summations of top digital properties measured through all of 2014.

Because the data released by comScore, Rentrak and Nielsen are so disparate, we won't try to compare or draw conclusions from this information. Instead, look at it as a snapshot of the current digital video viewing environment.


Top desktop online video properties in February and January 2015:

Source: comScore Video Metrix, Jan.-Feb. 2015

comScore also released a new report in March summarizing its digital audience results for 2014. Here are a few statistics from that.

2014 top digital properties

comScore top digital property 2014

2014 Multi-platform audience penetration vs. Engagement

2014 unique viewers vs. videos per viewer

2014 top YouTube channels

Source: U.S. Digital TV Future In Focus 2015



Below is a snapshot of select weeks during the first quarter of 2015. With its TV Engagement metric, Rentrak measures the social media audience during broadcast of the top television programs. Its measurement of sales and rentals of movies provides part of the picture around the popularity of specific digital content, although its public-facing report doesn't include actual sales figures.

Digital engagement of cable & broadcast content:

Rentrak digital engagement

Rentrak digital engagement


Top digital movies & sales:

Rentrak digital movies & sales

Rentrak digital sales



Rather than providing direct numbers, Nielsen tends to gather statistics and analysis and present snapshots of the ratings environment. The ratings firm has begun to embrace social media engagement in a big way this year, as evidenced by the following charts.

Twitter and neurological engagement (more here):

Nielsen and Twitter TV

Total media engagement chart (click here for a full-sized version):

Nielsen media universe

Source: Nielsen


Charting OTT's audience: stats from Rentrak, comScore, Nielsen