Nielsen/NetRatings Video Metrics Service Mixes Panel and Census Data

A new online video measurement service from Nielsen/NetRatings uses both panel and census metrics to gauge audience size, demographics and competitive activity.

Named VideoCensus, the service was announced Monday, but has been in use by several companies since January, said Dave Osborn, director of the NNR’s MegaPanel services. He declined discussing the service’s cost.

VideoCensus is based on the company’s desktop meter and SiteCensus content-tagging technology. To use it, online video publishers, technology providers and networks attach a “simple piece” of NetRatings code to their video delivery platforms. “That passes to us all the details of what is being consumed by the end user,” said Osborn, which allows Nielsen to track viewing activity.

Meanwhile, the NetRatings desktop meter, installed on hundreds of thousands of Nielsen panelist PCs worldwide, further analyzes the video data measure viewer engagement with video channels, programs, and clips. According to the company, the system is “technology-agnostic,” and transparently measures all forms of streaming media, providing information about cached content, peer-to-peer programs and digital rights-managed video streams.

The product is designed to fill a void in the availability of independent methods for measuring online video, said Osborn. Most metrics are now provided by the sites streaming the content. Osborn said the main clients will be advertising agencies planning and buying media and conducting post campaign analysis, as well as publishers.

“The VideoCensus product was really about trying to fill some holes in the marketplace from a measurement perspective,” said Osborn. “Clearly, online video is becoming more and more important, but the existing research tools didn’t answer questions with a satisfactory degree of accuracy.”

Nielsen stressed the importance of accurately crediting content as publishers and creators devise new ways of monetizing online video.

One of the companies that has been using VideoCensus is VideoEgg, which delivers more than 425 million video streams monthly across more than 70 social networking sites. In a statement, VideoEgg CMO Troy Young, said the service provides accurate activity counts across the company’s network while the panel-based demographic data is helping in audience positioning.

The initial VideoCensus reports were released to clients in January and are available monthly. Osborn said a new version of the service will be launched in a couple of months. “I would characterize this version as VideoCensus 1.0 and version 2.0 will take into account a lot of client feedback,” said Osborn.

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