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Roku, Nielsen Team Up for Four-Screen Audience Measurement

The deal will enable audience counts across traditional TV, connected TV, desktop and mobile

Nielsen and Roku have inked a deal to enable four-screen audience measurement for the first time, in a move that helps Nielsen address its difficulty tracking connected device users.

The deal means that marketers running ads with Roku can deduplicate campaign reach, or separate out users, across traditional TV, connected TV, desktop and mobile.

Nielsen is still the leader in U.S. TV measurement, but faces challenges because the advertising industry is losing faith in its data, which is used to set ad pricing, as more viewers migrate to streaming services. Nielsen’s measurement system has been overly dependent on linear TV, limiting advertisers’ ability to determine who, if anyone, sees their ads or how many times they are reaching the same person across different devices.

The Roku deal means advertisers will be able to measure frequency across all four screens in the home.

Last week, Nielsen CEO David Kenny said at a conference that making sure data is representative of which audiences are consuming what is a key element to media companies establishing their priorities for reaching audiences. “We all have to fight for data integrity,” he said.

While some in the TV industry have sought alternatives to Nielsen measurements, none of the contenders have yet come up with a viable option. But marketing budgets are nevertheless following viewers to connected TV, with spending expected to increase to 18% this year from 11% in 2021, according to eMarketer.

According to Kim Gilberti, Nielsen’s SVP of product management, marketers are increasingly investing in connected TV, but brands want consistent measurement across screens.

“Marketers can now better evaluate CTV inventory’s unique reach and frequency in conjunction with their entire Roku buy in a comparable and comprehensive manner,” she said in a statement, “and advertisers can reduce waste and help ensure that relevant ads are delivered to the right audiences across devices.”

Gilberti said the deal brings the company “one step closer to providing comparable and deduplicated metrics across screens with Nielsen ONE,” the company’s “cross-media” measurement tool set to debut in December.

“We believe that all TV ads will be accountable and measurable,” said Asaf Davidov, Roku head of ad measurement and research. “Our direct consumer relationship, our scale, and our tech all make us uniquely positioned to work with Nielsen to make measurement simpler and more accurate as marketers shift spend to TV streaming.”

Last year, Roku bought Nielsen’s targeted advertising business, enabling the platform to insert hyper-targeted ads, allowing sponsors to reach consumers at a granular level, including targeting income, lifestyle and shopping interests.