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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Nielsen’s Amazon Streaming Data Deal Stirs Bias Concerns

  • First-party streaming data likely to be included in Thursday Night Football viewership.
  • Linear networks argue Nielsen is abandoning its traditional independence.
Amazon-Thursday-Night-Football
Amazon

Amazon’s path to fund its growing sports streaming ambitions will likely get a sizable boost — but is angering some of its linear rivals in the process.

Nielsen is planning to include first-party streaming data in its audience measurements, supplementing its traditional independent research, and is finalizing an effort to gain approval of the plan from the Media Rating Council, which sets industry measurement standards.

The move, supported by the NFL, is likely to elevate ratings for Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football,” in turn allowing for higher ad rates during the games. Last year, Nielsen said “Thursday Night Football” games averaged 9.58 million viewers on Amazon Prime Video, though Amazon said its internal data showed a viewership average nearly 18% higher.

The new methodology — also available to other streaming entities for live programming — will likely be an eventual sales tool should Amazon land other major live sports rights, as is its intention

“We are making modifications for live streaming measurement to more accurately reflect the growing impact of streaming and first-party data” Nielsen said.

But the shift has quickly drawn rebukes from leaders at linear networks such as ESPN, CBS, and Fox, who argue Nielsen is abandoning its long-held independence.

“Nielsen is about to sacrifice its most valuable attribute — impartiality — to benefit one client, one program, and one content supplier,” said Mike Mulvihill, Fox Sports president of insights and analytics.

Mulvihill called Nielsen’s decision “reckless, wrongheaded, and a slap in the face” to its clients and NFL partners.

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