Now that streaming video has become the new video medium of choice for millions of households both in the U.S. and internationally, the television industry is finally starting to adapt and acknowledge that streaming is the future of television. For years, measuring the growth and prevalence of streaming has depended solely upon audience surveys or disclosures of subscriber totals released by individual streaming services. Now, however, Nielsen has announced that they will begin tracking views on streaming services and reporting them alongside traditional TV ratings in what will surely be a huge boost to the growing widespread adoption of streaming television.
Nielsen has been measuring television and radio audience ratings for almost eight decades now, but has been shifting their methods and scope for several years now in order to keep up with audiences’ changing viewing habits. Nielsen announced this week that they will now begin tracking views of Hulu’s live service and YouTube TV, as well as audience numbers for the cable-free “skinny bundles” offered in some areas. Nielsen’s President of Product Leadership Megan Clarken says the move is the first of many aimed at bringing streaming ratings into consideration alongside traditional TV ratings:
This is the first time the biggest digital-first, TV streaming companies have come into the fold in terms of being included in TV ratings […] The doors are open for those players who want to be lined up side-by-side and measured in a comparable way to traditional TV.
While only Hulu live TV and YouTube TV are currently being measured by Nielsen, the firm plans to expand its ratings coverage in the near future to possibly include video-on-demand services like Netflix or Amazon Video.
Nielsen’s announcement is one of many developments lately which show streaming is now being recognized as a primary medium throughout the industry. Many new services and sites are springing up to serve as companions to streaming much in the same way TV Guide and so many other programming guides did for broadcast television. Several new sites have launched recently to help streaming audiences keep track of their favorite programming across multiple streaming services. Nielsen’s inclusion of streaming ratings is just one more sign that the cable-free future of TV is already here.