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National TV Measurement


Measure the value of TV advertising

Understanding TV viewing behavior is critical for all parties in the media ecosystem. Networks and other content producers need viewership information to determine who’s watching their programs to properly price their ad inventory and make critical programming decisions. Agencies and advertisers need viewership insights to determine where and when to place their advertising, sponsorships and marketing budget.

Nielsen is the source of truth for National TV measurement. We provide our clients with a deep understanding of what their audiences are watching – when, where, with who and how often. To derive viewing metrics that the industry can trade with confidence – including impressions, ratings, reach and frequency – we use our people-powered panels and advanced technology to capture what content, network or station people are watching.

Our National TV Audience measurement service is accredited by the Media Rating Council because our metrics are proven to be valid, reliable and effective.

Use cases

Connect with the TV audiences that matter most to you

As the currency of choice for media buyers and sellers, we understand measurement needs to work for everyone, and measure everybody, everywhere. Our proprietary technology can identify viewing that occurs on each TV in and out of the home, including viewing that occurs at airports, doctor’s offices, hotels, or bars/restaurants. We also measure when audiences are watching – whether it’s live, a recorded program via DVR, or video on demand – delivering accurate person-level measurement across all platforms and devices.

Digital measurement for advertisers and agencies

Media buyers

Determine where and when to best place advertising, sponsorships and marketing dollars.

Answer critical questions like:

•  How many people saw my TV ad campaign? Know their gender, race, ethnicity, income, education, occupation, etc.
• What are viewers’ media behaviors and what are the best places to reach them with your message?
• What are my optimal frequency levels?

Digital measurement for publishers and platforms

Media sellers

Determine who’s watching your programs to properly price ad inventory and make critical programming decisions.

Answer critical questions like:

• What types of programming do your target viewers watch?
• Who are your viewers? Know more about them – gender, race, ethnicity, income, education, occupation, etc.
• How does your network stack up against the competition?
• How much time do viewers spend with television and when?


Accredited Currency that is trusted, independent, and standardized across the industry

We work with independent auditors and councils to remain in compliance with industry standards and ensure our measurement service is sound. As a result, Nielsen is accredited by the Media Rating Council because of our ability to deliver equitable and comprehensive measurement data to power a better media future for all.

Inclusive data

We measure real people because marketers target people, not devices. Gain an understanding of your viewing audience with person-level metrics that represent multicultural communities with metrics inclusive of age, gender, race, and ethnicity.

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive coverage

Nielsen’s full product line includes comprehensive measurement across linear TV, CTV, computers, smartphones, tablets, walled gardens and social media. Our metrics, which are inclusive of co-viewing, are reflective of how National audiences watch TV with measurement that accounts for broadband-only “cord-cutters,” over-the-air, OTT, streaming, and out-of-home viewership.

Evolving Our Measurement For the Future

Since the inception of our audience measurement services, Nielsen has provided its traditional panel data as currency. We believe that a foundational currency must be independently audited and backed by the MRC to ensure that measurement is meeting the standards set by the industry. 

However, we are continually innovating to help move the industry forward. In addition to our accredited National TV Service, we’re looking to the future with the following enhanced offerings:

• Big Data in National: Tuning data from millions of smart TVs and cable/satellite set-top boxes that is validated by real consumer viewing behavior remains central to our audience measurement strategy. The integration of big data will unlock linear addressable measurement, allowing the industry to take advantage of targeting audiences that matter most. 

• Individual Commercial Metrics: To align the measurement of audiences across platforms, we will enhance our National TV measurement by delivering metrics for individual ads. This subminute reporting enables greater comparability across platforms and ad models enabling media buyers and sellers to maximize the value of ad inventory and drive return on advertising spend across the traditional and digital landscapes.

Advanced Audiences: To accelerate your TV audience targeting to go beyond age and gender demographics, we are continually making enhancements to our current Advanced Audiences capabilities. Leverage the same segmentation across planning, activation and measurement for continuity and comparability throughout the marketing lifecycle.

Let’s discuss your business needs