Where will U.S TV ratings go?

In the 20th century, after World War II, television gradually replaced  radio and started become one of the most important roles in peoples’ daily life. Soon after, television has become the primary aspect of media until the 21th century. In nowadays, because of the developed technical progress, the appearance of Internet steaming media and advanced Video On Demand system have shifted the ordinary method of television viewing.下载

To investigate people’s viewing trend and decide how to make a suitable TV schedule to earn profit, TV rating measurement appeared. However, as technology progresses, new television viewing methods like internet steaming media and Advanced VOD system changed the traditional TV operation mode , and the measuring method was changing a lot, according to the media development. In the past, most people watched TV in a particular period according to the schedule set up by TV stations, but now people can watched their favorites whenever they liked because they could find the shows online. Under this kind of circumstance, from where I stand, traditional TV rating measuring method was not suitable any more so that TV measurement should go further and more comprehensively, to set up a measuring system that can cover every field, even the new television viewing methods. Nowadays, TV ratings are related to not only schedule, but also how cable TV rents TV programs from main TV stations, and the clipping rate of videos online.

Nielsen Holding N.V. and Rentrak are the two main marketing research companies that focus on TV in the world, which have both set up their own measuring systems, but their systems should be promoted, while the social conditions were always changing a lot. I think it will be better if they can build up a partnership, and the reasons will be talked about in the body part.

Nielsen Holding N.V., whose headquarter is located in New York(USA) and Diemen, is an American leading global information and measurement company. As a household TV ratings collection and analyzing organization, Nielsen, primarily focusing more on TV ratings, has more functions and becomes more comprehensive in media field. Nielsen now has been simplified as an organization which has two simple goals: investigating what customers will buy, and what customers will watch.

Nielsen has a not only specific but also comprehensive measuring system, which focus on different ages, genders, periods and programs. One of the symbols is the National Audience Demographics Report(N.A.D), which is tested monthly. The report tests the household ratings of the whole American according to different ages, sexes and items, such as different territories, household income, county sizes and household education. By investigating these data, people can judge whether a particular program is upscale or not. And that can influence advertisement businessmen and TV stakeholders’ investing trends.

Section of the Nielsen Rating Book(VIC) is another investigating and analyzing index collection to show how different TV channels and programs play in the national media competition. There are six parts in the booklet, which are day-part summary, program averages, time period, persons shares, program index and market data section. The market data section show the investigators the basic information about the household TV ratings market, including universe and penetration estimates, and the sample size, as well as the TV households circumstances of different cities of origin, states and designated market areas and measurement schedules.

Except for the program index, the other four sections are all divided into different genders and ages, but focus on different items. The day-part summary is telling the household rate and share of different TV channels of different periods of the day, while the program averages and time period show people the information about DMA household and ratings of different programs at different time in a day. Besides, the persons shares section is the only section that reveals the detail of shares of different TV channels at different time during a day. And what the program index can indicate is how are the situations of different programs during the past four weeks and three checking points of seasons.

Rentrak, which is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and United State, is a worldwide measurement and research company for the entertainment industry. Rentrak, which is holding VOD viewing information, has developed methods to build up its database for the assessment and entertainment trading with many platforms, such as box office, multi-screen television and home video. The company has tracked viewing action from more than 20 million television and domestic video.

Compared to Nielsen, Rentrak pays more attention on VOD and DVR, named video on demand and digital video recorder respectively. The video on demand system can provide people opportunities to select to watch the videos or listen to the audios they want, instead of being forced to watch the shows and listen to audios at a specific time. Meanwhile, the digital video recorder system allow people to record shows they like into little personal devices. Both systems are offer convenience to people and can be set up in set-top boxes on the top of a television. This is a chance for measurement companies to investigate the household TV ratings much easier, so Rentrak set up its measuring system in the set-top boxes to investigate the household TV rating of every family who use VOD or DVR services.

Facing the dangerous and intense media situations and globalization, Rentrak has made several important and useful decisions to promote itself in the media field. On April 13, 2015, Rentrak announced that it signed a multi-year TV measurement agreement with WUSA9, the Gannett-owned CBS-affiliate in Washington D.C. Rentrak and WUSA9 agreed that WUSA9 will utilize Rentrak’s massive and passive measurement currency, including Rentrak’s single-source Advanced Automotive and Political ratings to understand and demonstrate the value and relevance of their audiences to national and local agencies and advertisers.

Meanwhile, Rentrak was also looking a pattern to enlarge its public relationship and improve its measurement accuracy. On April 2, 2015, Rentrak told reporters that it has signed a TV ratings and automotive segmentation agreement with Discovery Communications. The agreement showed that Discovery would adopt Rentrak’s TV ratings and IHS Polk Automotive data, offering more comprehensive measurement of advertising campaigns running on Discovery’s portfolio of networks.

Nielsen Hold N.V. and Rentrak are competitors because the conflicts of their different functions and rights. Nowadays, TV program have to go through a complex path to get to different audiences. For example, a TV program have to be on a particular channel firstly, and then can be played on other channel. After that, the video can be play online charged, and then for free. There is a order for it.

Starting out distributing videocassettes and using data from cable set-top boxes, Rentrak Corporation was challenging Nielsen in the developing business of relating television viewership with customer information of particular households.“The competition on the research front is the most intense it’s ever been,” said David Poltrack, chief research officer for CBS Corporation, which had signed protocols with both Nielsen Holding N.V. and Rentrak Corporation.

Unlike Nielsen, whom is holding the most of TV ratings, Rentrak is a multiple and new television viewing industry, which can investigate and integrate the more complex TV rates in a more comprehensive way, compared to Nielsen. However, even the viewing method has changed because of the modern society, Nielsen still has two advantages. The first one is that it can help old people a lot. Most of old people are not able to use new television viewing methods such as internet steaming media and advanced VOD system, because new television viewing methods are more different to be operated. Besides, watching TV with family was a public habit since long time ago, especially to those old people who had great relationship with their family. This is also an important and significant way for them to communicate with their family. Meanwhile, Nielsen is holding the major television rating, which means that it holds the primary source of ratings of TV most TV programs. Also, because of the Must Carry Rule which was published by Federal Communications Commission(FFC) in 1970s, all of the cable TV could carry on the broadcast signal, at the same time, Nielsen’s rating area has grained by the Federal policy.

However, people are becoming much busier now because of their works and entertainment life, so they rely more on new television viewing methods, which are much more convenient to them. They sometimes cannot watch their favorite shows on a particular time, so the measurement data held by Rentrak becomes more important now. As a matter of fact, Nielsen has made some mistakes while some of their old-fashion methods are not working.

Nielsen felt heat as rival and should promote its digital measurement. “Nielsen needs to step up its game,” said Alan Wurtzel, the president of research and media development at NBC universal, which is owned by Comcast Corp. ComScore claimed that it is able to provide what the industry demanded: a very easy method which could tell how many people were watching a TV show across any media platforms, including live and time-shifted TV, video-on-demand, and online streaming.

For the Winter Olympics in 2012, NBC measured how people across the U.S. are following its coverage not just on television, but also on tablets, cellphones and personal laptops. Instead of asking Nielsen HOLDING N.V., a powerhouse in television ratings, for help, the company turned to ComScore Inc., which had better skills to track digital media.

With more people watching television online and the demand of pay-television service, television networks are looking for new methods to view. Some television executives claimed that Nielsen Holding N.V. was not capturing the correct size of their audiences.

Nielsen Holding N.V. needs to progress its measuring systems to adjust the new social conditions, and it has aware of that and begin to fix that problem. Nielsen said that it was working on its own plan to add mobile-device viewing to its television rating at fall term 2014.

Because the online media is becoming more popular and the major stage of media information to people, the data held by Rentrak influences data held by Nielsen so strongly.

After learning such complicated social conditions of media measurement and relationship between different digital measurement companies including Nielsen Holding N.V. and Rentrak Corporation, it seems that there might be a solution to this problem, and it might also be one of the ways Nielsen and Rentrak could go.

It seems that Nielsen Holding N.V. is not able to survive that easily while facing so many shocks from the specific social situations and other digital measurement companies. As a matter of fact, as one of the old-fashion television ratings companies, Nielsen has an advantage that most of digital measurement companies does not have, which is its large and basic database of audiences of different ages and groups of people, because of the longest period its television rating observation.

Although Nielsen was shocked by other new digital measurement companies, it still had this most unique condition in its hand. I do think it can be a chance that Nielsen can use this advantage as a condition to corporate with other digital measurement companies. Nielsen can provide a very large and original media database to other digital measurement companies like Rentrak and use these digital measurement companies’ new rating systems and conceptions to achieve better goals. I do think none of them will lose profits or reputation and it will be such a win-win strategy to all of them.

However, it seems that Nielsen do not want to compromise that. “We welcome competition if someone wants to come and challenge us on these things,” said Megan Clarken, Nielsen’s executive vice president of global product leadership.

As a matter of fact, the TV measurement will go to corporation and integration. Corporation, which is caused by the globalization, is bound to take place in the future, or can be said that has already happened now, but still have not been popular. Nielsen, Rentrak and some other TV measurement or media companies were looking for chances to be standing together during the past few years. It will be a trend of most TV measurement and media companies in the future.

One of the reasons the idea came out of my mind is that the media market in American, even in the world was becoming more and more complicated, so that some entrepreneurs of TV measurement and media companies  began to enlarge their relations for a safer circumstance, and avoid cruel fights with each other.

Both Nielsen and Rentrak want to make sure that each of their data is accurate, and they both have to follow the natural rules of media development, so they will corporate eventually, because the multiple development of American TV is not a changeover, but a fact.


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