The Nielsen Gauge report for April 2022, published Thursday, revealed that audiences spent on average more than 30% of their total TV viewing time this past month consuming watching streaming video content. That is a record share for streaming, and up from the previous record of 29.7% that was set in March. Overall TV viewing dropped by 2.1% from March, while consumption of streaming content in April was almost identical to March, helping to increase streaming’s share of overall TV viewing by over 0.6%.
An influential Wall Street analyst has downgraded Nielsen’s stock from “outperform” to “market perform,” and lowered its price projection estimates, following the expiration of an option for it to find other takeover suitors. “The Go-Shop expired last week and removed any ‘white knight’ scenario,” BMO Capital Markets’ Daniel Salmon wrote in a note sent to investors late Sunday.
How did the simple act of counting TV viewers become so controversial? David Kenny thinks he knows. The CEO of Nielsen has been under fire for months, ever since some of his company’s biggest customers — the nation’s TV networks — began to complain about how Nielsen tabulated viewers during the coronavirus pandemic. They are still complaining. And Nielsen faces a host of upstart rivals with whom the networks are striking new measurement deals. But Kenny says he isn’t letting their maneuvering get in the way of Nielsen’s future.
Nielsen, which has agreed to be acquired by a private-equity group led by Elliott Investment Management, said that its go-shop period has expired without an alternative proposal to buy the company emerging.
Three important ad trade bodies – the Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, and the Advertising Research Foundation’s Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) – Thursday said they are fielding a new study to “explore the industry’s transition to a multi-currency TV market in the U.S.” The study comes as a perfect storm of developments have led up to a Babel-like 2022-23 upfront marketplace, in which a variety of “alternate” currencies are being promoted alongside the industry’s legacy currency — Nielsen — and not one of them currently is accredited by industry self-regulatory body, the Media Rating Council.
Measurement giants faced off at the NewFronts Thursday, as Nielsen alternatives pitched a next generation in TV and video currency, while Nielsen contended you can’t really trust numbers from its rivals’ big data sets.
Measurement of Tubi will expand coverage of streaming devices, including computer, mobile and connected TV inventory served on specific CTV devices.
Nielsen today reported lower earnings as it prepares to be acquired by a private equity group lead by Elliott Investment Management. Net income fell to $105 million, or 29 cents a share, compared to $573 million, or $1.60 a share, reflecting the sale of its Global Connect business for $2.7 billion last year. The company said net income from continuing operations was $101 million, down from $106 million. Revenue rose 1.6% to $877 million.
The measurement company will use Inscape ACR data from approximately 20 million Vizio TVs, obtains first window of exclusivity to Vizio’s newly expanded local station coverage.
The Media Rating Council will reaccredit Nielsen’s national TV ratings service “soon,” and it will fast-track its new digital ratings methodology, with a vote on reaccrediting it within the next few weeks, BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon asserted in a note sent to investors Sunday.
With cord-cutting continuing, the number of U.S. homes that get content over-the-air through an antenna has grown to 18.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 18.4 million a year ago, according to a new report from Nielsen. Those 19 million homes represent 15.3% of households, up from 14.3% in the fourth quarter of 2018, when there are 16.7 million over the air homes and just 10% in 2010.
As the industry continues to try to solve the increasingly complicated measurement problem, YouTube and Nielsen have partnered to add co-viewing metrics to account for multiple viewers watching YouTube TV and YouTube on connected TV.
Beyond Will Smith’s infamous pimp-slap of Chris Rock, the other big news in Hollywood has been the free-for-all assault on Nielsen by networks and advertisers. In the otherwise staid and arcane world of audience measurement, the campaign to replace the Nielsen system with different methodologies has garnered unprecedented press and grown to undeniable proportions. So much so that Nielsen, itself, recently agreed to a $16 billion acquisition by a group of private equity investors who are betting big on the company and the media measurement space.
WindAcre Partners, which expressed its opposition to Nielsen’s plan to be acquired by a group of private equity firms for $16 billion including debt, said it raised its stake in the ratings company to 18.9%. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday, WindAcre bought 33.4 million Nielsen shares on April 6, 7 and 8 at prices between $27.05 a share and $27.71 a share, for a total of about $918 million. That brought WindAcre’s investment in Nielsen to more than $1.6 billion.
Americans increased the time they spent streaming by 18% in February to 169.4 billion minutes from a year ago, according to Nielsen. In its new State of Play report, Nielsen sees streaming continuing to grow. It found that 93% of Americans said they will increase their paid streaming services or make no changes to their current subscription portfolio over the next year. The number of Americans paying for more than four streaming services grew to 18% from 7% in 2019.
Nielsen CEO David Kenny’s total compensation for 2021 was $13.8 million, up 29% from the previous year, according to Nielsen’s proxy statement, released Tuesday. Kenny took a pay cut in 2020, a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic affected most businesses. Kenny received $12.9 million in compensation during 2019.
“For any version of Nielsen, current as-is or next after-sale, the ad industry needs are identical: deep disclosures and real transparency, commitment to the modernization that sharply increased competition demands, and increased collaboration rather than collision with their clients and customers,” says Sean Cunningham, president and CEO of the Video Advertising Bureau, a trade group that represents the TV networks to the advertising industry. “We are rooting hard for these overdue outcomes from any version of Nielsen.”
TVNewsCheck‘s Michael Depp talks with Vikrant Mathur of Future Today, Pierre Marc-Diennet of Lotame and Mark Zagorski of DoubleVerify about Nielsen’s $16 billion sale to a private equity consortium and what it means for the company’s future and the broader landscape of TV measurement.
TV ratings giant Nielsen is to be acquired by private equity consortium Evergreen Coast Capital Corp. and Brookfield Business Partners in a deal valued at around $16 billion. The Nielsen board of directors voted unanimously to support the acquisition proposal, which represents a 10% premium over the consortium’s previous proposal and a 60% premium over Nielsen’s unaffected stock price.
As the audience for traditional television has gotten older, broadcast and cable sales and research executives have argued that Madison Avenue’s fixation on younger viewers is costing them money by devaluing the majority of their audiences. They also argue that by ignoring mature viewers, marketers are ignoring consumers with wealth and purchasing power. In a guest blog Monday, Nielsen VP Sue Tremblay argues that including people 55 to 64 would incorporate half of the Baby Boomer generation and all Gen Xers.
The Media Rating Council said that Nielsen’s bid to get its national and local ratings services reaccredited won’t be completed until the third quarter at the earliest, and after the upfront TV ad market takes place.
NBCUniversal says iSpot.tv will be this upfront ad market’s cross-platform “currency” partner for marketers for the 2022-23 TV season. NBC has added eight other certifications, beyond the previously announced iSpot.tv. It has also added seven new “certified” measurement partners. “As we head into the upfront season, we wanted to make it clear that, at this moment in time, we will be transacting against our certified cross-platform partner, iSpot.tv,” Kelly Abcarian, EVP of measurement & impact, advertising and partnerships, NBCUniversal, said Tuesday.
Nielsen Holding said its board rejected an offer from a consortium of private equity investors worth $25.40 a share. The company also said that one of its large shareholders, WindAcre Partnership, said it would acquire a large enough position in NIelsen equity to block the takeover bid.
Despite the Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, and the heightened demand for news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine late in the month, February’s TV viewership trailed January’s per usual, according to Nielsen’s latest update of The Gauge, its monthly look at how consumers are watching content across top TV platforms.
TV networks are bullish on using alternatives to Nielsen panel data as currencies for deals in the upcoming spring ad haggle. But despite Nielsen’s widely reported issues and new alliances forging between media sellers and measurement firms, it’s unlikely 2022 will be the year the TV industry shifts en masse away from Nielsen.
The suit charges the ratings firm with fraud and concealment and alleges media companies have suffered billions of dollars in damages.
A consortium of private-equity firms including Elliott Management Corp. is in advanced talks to buy the TV ratings company for about $15 billion including debt, according to people familiar with the matter. Financing talks with a number of banks are progressing and a takeover deal could be completed within weeks, the people said. There is no guarantee there will be a deal, as the talks could still fall apart.
Nielsen has sued potential rival TVSquared, alleging that TVSquared infringed on a Nielsen patent covering measuring audience exposure across platforms while protecting viewers’ personal information. TVSquared was acquired last weekfor about $160 million by Innovid,
Nielsen said it is examining its operations in Russia at a time when several media companies have elected to shut down their activities there. “Due to the escalating situation in Russia and Ukraine, Nielsen is actively working with its clients and vendors in Russia to pause new business and evaluating a plan for its existing operations in Russia,” the company said in a statement. Nielsen declined to elaborate on whether it was measuring Russia’s state-run media.
The networks are once again publicly taking Nielsen to task for what they allege is flawed data from the measurement company. This time, the Video Advertising Bureau is asking Nielsen to delay its new “big data” monthly impact releases — set-top box and smart television viewership metrics that complement its in-house panel data for national TV measurement — until after this year’s upfront, calling the current data “unusable.”
Cox will have access to a broad range of Nielsen services, including Scarborough, Arianna, Local Media Impact, and more.
Don’t count Nielsen out of TV’s measurement wars just yet. Disney said Tuesday that it had entered into an agreement with Publicis Media to test work on Nielsen’s new NielsenOne system, a measurement product that aims to count unduplicated video audiences across linear and digital screens and that Nielsen expects to introduce formally later this year.
The National Football League and Nielsen said that a new study they collaborated on estimates that more than 208 million people watched the 2022 Super Bowl, a number 25% higher than the 167 million unique viewers who watched at least one minute of the game based on Nielsen’s previous report.
Nielsen, under fire from media companies and a raft of competitors, said its new measurement system Nielsen One is on track, with the rollout of some parts being accelerated. “We are executing as planned, as committed on Nielsen One,” said Nielsen CEO David Kenny Monday during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.
Nielsen and Experian this morning announced an expanded strategic initiative to enhance identity data in the United States for digital measurement of the open web. Experian marketing data assets will enhance the Nielsen Identity System by providing persistent IDs for open web measurement, increasing coverage and interoperability by supporting audience measurement across screens and devices […]
NBCU provided advertising data from the Olympics and Super Bowl and Nielsen integrated broadband-only homes into a local universe sample in a month that marked a turning point in the fraught universe of TV metrics. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.
TVNewsCheck‘s Michael Depp, Paige Albiniak and Michael Stahl discuss an eventful February for TV measurement with Nielsen’s introduction of BBO homes and NBCUniversal’s granular new metrics with iSpot.tv, plus how newsrooms’ assignment desks are weaning off police scanners and toward a more collaborative role.
The media measurement giant is expected as soon as Wednesday to announce it will issue streaming data from connected TV sets, according to two people familiar with the matter. The information, Nielsen is expected to tell clients, will give advertisers, media buyers and media companies more information in their efforts to understand how audiences are behaving across a range of different screens.