NBCUniversal is trying to use the Winter Olympics to get the ad industry to ditch old-fashioned TV ratings — but it won’t be easy

Luge, 2018 Winter Olympics

NBCUniversal is using the Olympics to tout its custom Total Audience Delivery (TAD) metric as an alternative to classic Nielsen ratings.
The media company wants to stop advertisers and media journalists from focusing on Nielsen ratings at a time when people are watching less live TV.
It won’t be easy to shift an entire industry’s fixation on this type of data. But most in the TV business recognize that current measurement systems are inadequate for fragmented digital viewing.

NBCUniversal is taking reporting ratings for the Winter Olympics into its own hands. The question is whether the rest of the TV industry will follow.

The media giant is using the Olympics to push its case for reporting what it calls Total Audience Delivery (TAD). This NBCU-created ratings construct is essentially a medley of data from different sources designed to help get across how many people are actually watching the games, whether on live linear TV, NBCU’s apps or mobile devices.

TAD is NBCU’s not-so-subtle message that when it comes to measuring modern TV viewing, Nielsen can’t cut it.

For example, on Sunday night, NBCU says it delivered 26 million viewers, an audience it’s calling the most “dominant” opening Winter Olympics Sunday ever.

That TAD number includes 22.7 million people watching on NBC, along with a 15% boost from other platforms.

In fact, NBCU says through Monday afternoon this year’s games have already generated 445 million live streaming minutes, which is more than the 420 million live minutes recorded during the entirety of the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.

“We want a holistic picture, and a way to capture all that consumption,” Krishan Bhatia, NBCU’s EVP, business operations & strategy, told Business Insider. “We’re going with best measurement available. And there is no single source that can do that for all platforms.”

“And this is not just limited to the Olympics,” Bhatia added. “If you look at a show like This is US, 50% of that show’s audience is not captured in the linear rating.”

Bhatia said what most big advertisers care about is running their ads during a certain time period (during a particular promotion, or holiday season), having their ads run alongside premium content, and reaching the right audience demographics.

And whether people watch on TV, the web, on Rokus, or on their phones – the Olympics delivers on all fronts.

“So if we can track those, it should count,” said Bhatia.

Yet the way NBCU compiles TAD reporting is unorthodox, and according to some, less than ideal from a data science perspective. That’s because rather than using a single third party measurement vendor (typically the preferred approach among media researchers), NBCU pieces together data from Nielsen, Adobe, the ad tech firm Freewheel, and Oracle to produce TAD numbers.

NBCU has two overarching goals with TAD. For one, it wants to get the ad buying world accustomed to thinking of TV audiences as being less confined to live airings of shows, and more like something that is compiled across multiple platforms over varied time periods. For the first time, NBCU sold advertisers …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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