An effort championed by Amazon and the NFL to incorporate first-party streaming data into audience measurements for “Thursday Night Football” is now on hold, as Nielsen hasn’t gained the needed clearance from a key accrediting body.
At least for now, Nielsen won’t incorporate the additional data in its measurement reports without the approval of the Media Rating Council, which sets industry measurement standards.
“We remain committed to adhering to the MRC’s measurement standards,” Nielsen said. “Our aim is to ensure the process with which we introduce new ways of measuring audiences is inclusive of client feedback and held to the highest standards.”
Amazon and the NFL have supported the initiative, as it would likely elevate ratings for “Thursday Night Football” and, in turn, allow for higher ad rates during the games, with billions of dollars in advertising potentially at stake.
The league has also long believed traditional methods have somewhat undercounted its audiences.
But other linear networks that carry NFL games, including ESPN, Fox, and CBS — and the Video Advertising Bureau — had publicly decried the move to incorporate the first-party data, alleging it “can help cast Amazon as an overachieving NFL outlier versus its competitors.” The parties also argued that Nielsen was abandoning its long tradition of industry independence with the shift.
Nielsen will continue to eventually incorporate the first-party data in a way that meets with MRC’s blessing, but there is no projected timetable for the endeavor.