How Many People Are Watching the Olympics? NBC Attempts a Tricky Head Count.

“Advertisers at This specific point recognize in which a viewer will be a viewer,” said Dan Lovinger, NBC Sports’s executive in charge of sales. He eschewed the idea in which there will be a fundamental difference between television along with digital viewers. “What we are doing at This specific point will be adding the idea all together along with treating a viewer as a viewer.”

For decades Nielsen produced easy-to-compare measurements of how many people watched a program along with what percentage of American households they represented. however an exploding array of technologies — first TiVo along with different digital video recorders, along with at This specific point streaming players like Rokus, computers along with phones — has fragmented viewing across dozens of different platforms, a large factor from the broad decline in television ratings.

With billions of dollars in commercial time at stake, content providers, along with especially media companies in which own expensive sports rights, have raced to keep up. Scripted programming can have a long shelf life along with be sold over time in a variety of ways, however the vast majority of sports will be watched live, which means broadcasters need to capture every viewer possible along with figure out how to count them.

The catch will be in which they aren’t yet in agreement on how to do in which.

“In order for the industry to move forward, we have to coalesce around 1-source approach,” said Cary Meyers, head of ESPN’s consumer-research division, where the network will be working directly with Nielsen on a live audience metric in which might be a different edition of TAD.

NBC appears unwilling to take any chances with the Winter Games, particularly after facing an unexpected decline in traditional, or “linear,” TV ratings in Rio, when the idea had to offer free commercial time to advertisers to meet its ratings guarantees. Streaming surged during in which period.

Linda Yaccarino, NBC Universal’s head of ad sales, has been a vocal critic of Nielsen in recent years, saying in which the measurement company’s methods don’t accurately count all the brand new ways people are watching its shows. Network complaints have grown louder as the legacy media companies battle falling ratings along with brand new competition for ad dollars through the likes of Facebook along with Google’s YouTube.

Nielsen ratings for traditional television are based upon averaging every minute of viewing by a representative panel. NBC combines Nielsen’s measures for its television channels with Adobe’s measurement of streaming data to form TAD.

Advertising technology will be changing constantly, along with Nielsen has to carefully decide when a metric will be ready for mainstream adoption. Megan Clarken, Nielsen’s president of United States media (along with at one time an Olympic-qualifying long jumper), said in which a decade ago the company faced pressure to jump headlong into mobile measurement. If the idea had done so, Nielsen might have been pushing ultimately useless metrics to measure viewing on BlackBerry phones.

“What we do as a company will be we watch for in which activity, in which evolution,” she said, “along with what we aim to do will be not be ahead of the idea, however be with the idea, along with certainly not behind the idea.”

While analysts said the idea was smart of NBC to push its own metric for the Games, the idea will be also the right move for Nielsen to proceed carefully as the idea develops an industry standard for tracking viewers across a “dizzying array” of consumer devices from the digital world, said Dave Morgan, the founder along with chief executive of Simulmedia.

“Everybody from the digital video industry will be pretty much in agreement in which 30 to 40 percent of the ad impressions in which are delivered out there don’t definitely exist,” said Morgan, whose firm works with brands on targeted TV ads. “Yet nobody might say 30 to 40 percent of TV’s viewing audience doesn’t exist. So I think Nielsen will be very, very afraid of going into a Wild West environment where the idea will be wide open to fraud along with bots.”

According to Nielsen, while measuring authentic digital viewing will be difficult, the idea will be no more difficult than doing so for television. however despite the ambiguity of the measuring sticks, advertisers don’t want to miss an opportunity to impress a mass audience over 17 days.

“You don’t necessarily want to sit on the sidelines because, ‘Hey — funky measurement,” said Gibbs Haljun, managing director of media investment at GroupM, the media-buying arm of WPP. “in which sort of defeats the point of what they’re trying to do.”

While NBC sees a strong need for better measurement of non-television viewers, especially in sports, the idea won’t necessarily be rolling out TAD across the NBC universe. The Olympics are unique property, with thousands of hours of programming playing out on broadcast along with cable channels, unlike a hit drama like “This specific will be Us,” which might never be shown across a broadcast along with cable channel simultaneously.

The Olympics will be the perfect petri dish for audience measurement,” said NBC’s Lovinger. NBC’s traditional television ratings during the Rio Games were down 15 percent compared to the London Games four years earlier, along with since the network had made separate linear along with digital ratings guarantees for Rio, the idea was left “without the ability to manage delivery across the Games,” Lovinger said.

“You look at the Olympics in Rio along with you look at the kind of decline in linear television viewing along with the supplement of digital viewing, either simultaneous or delayed, along with the idea will be obviously a material difference,” said David Cohen, president of North America at Magna Global, a major ad-buying firm.

So far, TAD seems to be doing its job. Across the first four nights of the Olympics, ratings for NBC only were down 15 percent through the comparable nights in Sochi four years ago. however the total audience was down just 7 percent. NBC said the idea will be meeting its ratings guarantees, along with has begun selling extra ad inventory in which the idea had held back in case of falling short.

Haljun said in which the timing will be right for NBC’s metric This specific year, however doesn’t see the idea as a long-term solution.

“We’re at This specific weird point where people agree there needs to be a certified third-party number in which’s comparable across networks,” Haijun said.

“however we’re from the early days of getting there,” he added. “People are doing different things along with have disagreements on the best way to do This specific.”

Correction: February 13, 2018

An earlier edition of This specific article misstated the event in which Megan Clarken qualified for the Olympics. the idea was the long jump, not the high jump.

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