Nielsen Adds Mobile and OTT Measurement to Its Total Ad Ratings Amid Standoff With CBS

New cross-platform measurement abilities include YouTube mobile ads

Nielsen's Total Ad Ratings metric will now measure a campaign's performance on mobile and OTT platforms. Getty Images

As Nielsen continues its standoff with CBS over a new contract, in part because of the network’s claims that the company isn’t doing a good enough job of providing “complete and accurate measurement across platforms,” it is expanding the very cross-platform campaign-measurement abilities that have come under scrutiny.

Nielsen’s Total Ad Ratings metric will now measure a campaign’s performance on mobile and over-the-top platforms, the company announced today. Additionally, through a new partnership with Google, YouTube advertisements will be part of Nielsen’s mobile Total Ad Ratings.

The Total Ad Ratings report will now include audiences who watched an ad on television, smartphone, tablet or computer, as well any combination of those devices, via de-duplicated measurement, which Nielsen said will help marketers more fully understand the reach of their campaigns.

“Providing currency caliber cross-platform audience measurement is core to our mission, and we’re excited to enhance our Total Ad Ratings product to do just that. Whether consumers are streaming from their TV or their smartphones, Nielsen will be able to reflect their ad viewership and incrementality as part of its audience reporting—a major step that will benefit the industry, from publishers and platforms to advertisers and agencies,” said Amanda Tarpey, Nielsen’s svp of product leadership, in a statement.

The new announcement comes amid Nielsen’s public standoff with CBS, after the two sides failed to come to terms on a new contract before the old one expired last week. On Thursday, CBS released a statement in which it faulted Nielsen for its cross-platform measurement abilities: “The entire media industry is aware of the need for complete and accurate measurement across platforms. While Nielsen has made some strides in this area, progress has not been what we and many clients would like, and local TV measurement is particularly challenged.”

Nielsen has countered that it has rolled out several new cross-platform offerings. The company began measuring YouTube views at a local level in May, partnered with Comcast in June to measure VOD and OTT ads and deepened its partnership with Snapchat in July to offer greater audience insight, including offline purchasing data.

While today’s announcement, which had been in the works prior to last week’s contract impasse, won’t be enough to get a new deal done with CBS on its own—talks have stalled over money and Nielsen’s local measurement offering—it would seem to address at least some of the network’s issues with the measurement company.

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.