Nielsen to Measure Online TV Chatter from Facebook Too

Information company’s gauge of online buzz for TV shows expands beyond just Twitter to include the world’s biggest social network

Last Updated: January 19, 2016 @ 9:22 PM

Soon, your Facebook friends won’t be the only ones paying attention to the TV show rants in your News Feed.

Television ratings giant Nielsen is expanding how it measures social chatter around TV shows to include Facebook, expanding it beyond just Twitter.

With the move, Nielsen is taking an additional small step toward modernizing its measurement of TV audiences for a digital age. TV networks rely heavily on Nielsen’s ratings of their shows to determine how much money they can demand from advertisers. But as consumers ratchet up the amount of video they watch on Internet-connected devices, Nielsen has struggled to capture that off-TV viewing.

The “Social Content Ratings” that Nielsen announced late Tuesday are separate from its work to measure online watching on streaming sites.

Previously known as Twitter TV ratings, the new Social Content Ratings broadens that online yardstick to include the biggest social network in the world, with Facebook at 1.55 billion active users a month worldwide. Twitter has 320 million.

The Nielsen measurement, however, will be more limited than Facebook’s full global reach. The new ratings will be available commercially in the second half of the year in the U.S., Australia, Italy and Mexico. The company will monitor online conversation around TV programming from posts shared with friends and family, with followers, and publicly on those two networks.

Facebook’s photo-focused unit Instagram will be integrated into the measurement later, Nielsen said.

It will watch online conversations about video programs from traditional networks and streaming-video services. Facebook will be delivering those posts directly to Nielsen, but it will make the data anonymous to shield the identities of the users.

Nielsen’s partnership with Facebook comes as the tech company has aggressively expanded into delivering video to its members. It has doubled its daily video views to 8 billion in six months, using strategies like autoplaying content and tweaking its News Feed algorithm.

Nick Grudin, Facebook’s director of media partnerships, said in an interview with TheWrap that helping television partners understand their audiences on its network through tools like the new Nielsen ratings could incite media companies to engage on Facebook more often, ultimately benefiting its business.


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