Nielsen extended screen reporting not coming to Canada

Joint venture partner BBM says Canada has the technology, but needs to determine the right methodology to combine TV and online viewing stats.

While Nielsen announced its intention to introduce an ‘extended screen’ reporting system in the US by this September to combine TV and online viewing into a single rating, Canada won’t be following suit anytime soon due to its advanced Personal People Meter (PPM) data rating technology, not yet adopted south of the border.

‘We have a different service – PPMs – here in Canada,’ Jim MacLeod, president and CEO of the Broadcast Bureau of Measurement (BBM), tells MiC. ‘It’s encoded, so anything that is live streamed on the web, we’re going to catch anyway.’

In the US, broadcast and cable network execs have been clamouring for a cumed rating to use as a step towards monetizing internet viewing of full-length programs. With online viewership constantly growing, they fear they’re losing precious web advertising dollars without a proper rating system in place.

In Canada, where Nielsen is not a standalone company in TV measurement due to its joint venture with BBM, the issue is a little more complicated. BBM’s MacLeod says Canada possesses the technology for such measurement, but the methodology needs to be sorted out.

‘In Canada, the technology that we’re using to measure live television has the legs to measure pretty much any way that any program is delivered,’ MacLeod explains. ‘You just have to work out what it is we’re trying to measure. The issue is that there are no standards. What are we measuring? Do you encode the original programs or encode the series by year? How exactly do we need this reported back so it’s useful? The industry needs to decide that.’

At the moment, MacLeod says the demand from Canadian broadcasters to pair TV and online viewing into a combo rating just isn’t there.

‘If Rogers and and Global and so on are getting any kind of traction whatsoever on downloads, we’ll start getting pressure to move this forward,’ MacLeod asserts. ‘It’s discussed, there’s no question. It’s on people’s radar.’

Even though each broadcaster or provider requires its own software encoder program, MacLeod said it wouldn’t take long to adapt the technology to adjust to the new measuring standards.

‘There needs to be a little bit of work done to make it work in each of the individual encoding facilities, but I think that’s minor,’ he acknowledges. ‘We could have that done in 90 days.’