Nielsen is rethinking how it measures television viewing.
Responding to pressure from the television industry, the ratings company is making a bigger push to measure viewing in a way that reflects the different means by which television content is distributed and consumed in the digital age.
The first step for Nielsen is to redefine what it considers a "television home." Starting this fall, homes that receive content on their television through video-game consoles or through broadband connections will be included in its sample. In the past, Nielsen only counted viewing that was done either through an over-the-air antenna or via a pay-TV provider such as a satellite broadcaster or cable company.
"The definition of television viewing is blurring a little bit," said Pat McDonough, a Nielsen senior vice president.
For networks and advertisers, Nielsen's move is long overdue.
"It is imperative for us that Nielsen as soon as possible incorporate these new forms of distribution into the overall measurement system," said CBS Chief Research Officer David Poltrack.