Nielsen Gets Access to Dish Set-Top Box Data in New Deal

Satellite TV provider previously shared stats only with ComScore

A Dish satellite
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TV measurement company Nielsen sealed a multi-year partnership with Dish Network to access viewership data from the satellite TV provider’s set-top boxes.

The move should arm Nielsen to better compete with ComScore, which traditionally held an exclusive grasp on the set-top-box data and recently acquired Rentrak, combining Nielsen’s two biggest rivals into one.

It may also improve the outlook on Nielsen’s measurement capabilities generally, as it should flesh out viewer habits in local areas that were previously inferred from surveys and samples.

Nielsen touted how Dish’s dataset spans the country, providing anonymized data from millions of Dish households that it will combine with insights from Nielsen’s local markets, “offering the industry a deeper understanding of viewing habits and increased metrics reliability,” it said.

Steve Hasker, chief operating officer for Nielsen, said the company is “aggressively investing” in its local and national TV measurement business to provide higher quality and specificity. “Dish’s set-top-box data is the first nationwide dataset to be integrated with our panel data, reaching the perfect balance of deep viewing characteristics and the granularity of large datasets,” he said.

Warren Schlichting, Dish executive vice president of marketing, programming and media sales, said the deal will “enhance the granularity and clarity of the insights that Nielsen provides.”

“This will allow advertisers and networks to improve their marketing and programming decisions even as television viewing itself becomes more fragmented,” he said.

Measurement companies have struggled to keep pace with lightning-fast changes in viewer habits, as people gravitate toward watching more content on more devices, many of which are tricky to measure.

Initially, the data provided by Dish will be integrated into Nielsen’s Local TV measurement service across all 210 designated market areas. The agreement will also enable Nielsen to leverage Dish’s set-top-box data to complement many of its local and national products including Nielsen Scarborough, Nielsen Data Fusion, Nielsen Media Custom Insights and multiple national insight services.

Additionally, Nielsen will also have the ability to use set-top-box data for its suite of marketing effectiveness and return on ad sales solutions, including CPG, Retail and Auto.