Comcast Will Sell Set-Top Data to Nielsen


PHILADELPHIA – Comcast has agreed to deliver anonymous usage information from its pay-TV set-top boxes for use in Nielsen’s local TV measurement products.

Nielsen hasn’t said how much of Comcast’s data would be incorporated into its local ratings reports, or how it would be represented in its mix of data.

It did describe the rollout as an evolution: “The incorporation of data from cable and satellite boxes into its local measurement will allow Nielsen to evolve the local TV currency ratings landscape, deliver all-inclusive metrics of local audiences and viewing trends, and transform how local media is bought and sold.”

Nielsen said it would begin incorporating Comcast’s set-top data with data from “other providers and Nielsen’s local meters” into its local TV ratings in 2018. “The data will be used to report audience viewing trends on an aggregated basis,” the company stated.

Nielsen has taken heat for its archaic methods of measuring local TV audiences, especially in non-metered markets where paper diaries served as tools.

Comcast rebuffed a $100 million offer from Nielsen in 2015 to buy set-top data, according to The Wall Street Journal. But AT&T forged a multiyear deal in January to offer information from DirecTV satellite and U-verse IPTV viewers to Nielsen, which is trying to deliver ever-more-granular viewing data to media-business clients.

Dish Network and Charter Communications have also signed deals with Nielsen to provide set-top data.