Backwards

The Nielsen Company

The latest Nielsen Three Screen Report is out this morning. In a nutshell:

During 2nd Quarter 2009, the number of people watching mobile video increased 70% from last year and people who watch video on line increased their viewing by 46% compared to a year ago. In addition, the average American TV consumption remains at an all-time high (141 hours per month) compared to the same time frame last year.

Great, except they’ve got it backwards.
This entire report is focused on the channels of distribution, NOT on what people are consuming. That seems 180 degrees from what’s needed.  While there is a place in consumption measurement for the “how”, smart marketers are focused on the “what” just as much if not more.

Let me give you a quick example. If I am a sponsor of an event – let’s say the U.S. Open Tennis Championship which is going on right now – is my association with the broadcast (I’m a TV sponsor) or with the event (I’m a tennis sponsor?) Is it the shared brand equity you’re trying to employ or is it just the ability to deliver your message to the audience the broadcast generates?  In my opinion, IT DOESN’T MATTER.  You’re focused on the content and its audience in one way or another and you should be channel agnostic in terms of leveraging it.

The Nielsen report talks a lot about time spent in each channel but wouldn’t it be nice to have aggregated numbers across the various platforms?  Smart marketers are building dashboards to do that, integrating traditional forms of media with digital, social, and others – all the places where the audience for the vent lives and into which they can further the conversation somehow.  The best media plans today recognize that “time spent” in a channel is kind of useless – the degree of fractionalization existent in each channel makes generalizations moot.

It’s nice that Nielsen continues to provide broad numbers of this sort but I’m not sure how useful they are at the end of the day.  What do you think?

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