Nielsen and AT&T this morning announced a deal to license “anonymized” set-top-box data from subscribers of AT&T’s DIrecTV and U-Verse services to Nielsen to be used in its local and national TV ratings
The set-top box firm will announce today that it will give away for free the basic TV ratings data that has been sold for decades by Nielsen and, more recently, some smaller players angling to break its hold.
TiVo wants to play the ratings game. Set-top viewing data is a hot commodity, but now TiVo says it plans to give the information away for free. In a note on the TiVo Research website, the company says that it will celebrate the merger of ratings companies comScore Inc. and Rentrak Corp. with the release of free TV ratings data starting in the first quarter of 2016.
The arrangement will give Rentrak access to second-by-second data from one million DirecTV homes to expand its national and local TV measurement products. Making the multi-year deal particularly interesting is that DirecTV agreed to sell the data directly to Rentrak.
Nielsen isn’t abandoning set-top-box (STB) data, but it is substantially scaling back plans to use it for local measurement. It boils down to the need for speed. In the 55 largest markets, Nielsen has determined — at least for now — that it’s not possible to collect and process the data quickly enough to continue with overnight ratings, a major client need. So, Nielsen has altered the new “hybrid” system it laid out last summer.