Nielsen makes a new data deal, paving the way to unlock local markets

Published: July 21, 2023

min read

With the advancement of technologies, the media landscape is changing, as are the audience’s viewing habits. Particularly with the emergence of streaming media, viewers got a myriad of options to choose from, which made a huge difference for people who had only a handful of stations to select and watch. And, more importantly, it provides them with the convenience of watching their favourite shows anytime and from anywhere.

As an outcome, audiences are scattered, as some choose Traditional TV channels, some prefer various streaming services, and some use both.

It makes the advertisers work more complex and puts them in a position to rely more on data measurement platforms so as to get accurate data to make decisions accordingly.

In the media measurement ecosystem, Nielsen has long been known for its TV ratings in the United States.

However, the company has gained lots of dissatisfaction from advertisers and brands for the inaccuracy of its data measurement in recent years. But, given the smart moves it has been taking in recent months shows how fiercely this measurement giant is working to fix the crack in its empire.

Nielsen recently renewed a multiyear agreement with Comcast Corp. to utilise set-top box "return path data" (RPD) in its cross-platform and national and local TV measurement.

The terms of the agreement have not been revealed, including the precise number of years it will continue, the total amount of the data set, and the payments involved. Nielsen, on the other hand, claims that the addition of RPD from Comcast expands its "big data" footprint to nearly 45 million US households.

According to the companies, the agreement will result in increased measurement commitment in the most significant local markets and enable media companies and agencies to acquire insight into modern audiences across platforms.

How big is the news for CAOs?

It is important for businesses and their advertising teams to pay close attention to the new collaborations happening in the media measurement ecosystem so as to stay ahead of the media evolution.

Measurement is already a tedious process. Especially with the evolution of technology, the way people consume content, the variety of devices they use to watch their shows, etc. have drastically changed. As it keeps evolving, it keeps adding an additional layer of complexity to measurement. But addressing these changes will only help brands move the needle forward.

In that context, We believe Nielsen’s new strategic partnership with Comcast to utilise set-top box "return path data" (RPD) will streamline the pathway for brands, especially to better connect with local audiences and impact them the most with their advertising activities.

  • This partnership will enable Nielsen to gain access to granular information such as genres they prefer, viewing times, etc., and behaviour across various channels and devices. This information, in turn, will allow brands to grasp a good level of understanding of their audiences. It will help them significantly to create more engaging marketing campaigns and reach potential customers in their immediate vicinity.
  • With the detailed return path data, brands will be able to assess their customers’ interests and preferences clearly. It will help the advertising team identify new audience segments that they have not found before so that they can sharpen their targeting and curate relevant advertisements for them. It will assist brands in reducing ad waste by avoiding irrelevant ad placements and improving the overall efficiency of their advertising campaigns.
  • As people now use multiple devices and platforms to access content, getting a complete picture of viewer behaviour is one of the key challenges that advertising teams face. With this new partnership, Nielsen will be able to measure viewership across various platforms, from cable TV to over-the-top (OTT) platforms. Thus, it will drastically help brands understand how viewers transition between platforms and devices and identify potential areas for growth so as to expand their reach.
  • As this new partnership paves the way for holistic viewership data measurement, brands will be able to attribute their advertising efforts more precisely. As it will help them comprehend which campaigns and channels deliver the best results, they can allocate their budgets, fine-tune their ad creative, and adjust their placement strategies accordingly. This, in turn, will significantly help them optimise overall campaign performance and boost ROI.

However, it is a big bombshell that Nielsen managed to extend its partnership with someone like Comcast despite all of its data discrepancy stories. But in our opinion, this partnership will significantly contribute to Nielsen for regaining advertisers’ trust.

In a nutshell, if Nielsen can deliver accurate data, then this partnership with Comcast will remarkably empower brands to adapt their strategies to ever-changing consumer expectations and make more informed decisions to make their advertising efforts meaningful.


Sarah Johnson

Sarah is an analytical marketing expert with a passion for data-driven insights. She has a keen eye for detail and a talent for turning complex information into actionable strategies. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, travel, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.


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