Nielsen recently announced that its local TV audience measurement at the DMA level will now include YouTube TV viewership thanks to an agreement between the two companies.  This is good news for media buyers like us who are working to measure viewing everywhere that our clients’ target audiences enjoy video content.  We will be able to gain a more comprehensive view of audiences engaging with linear TV programming across digital platforms.  Irrespective of the distribution channel, if a viewer watches a live or time-shifted program at a local level, Nielsen will now be able to count that viewing into the program’s standard TV ratings.

YouTube TV presently costs $40 per month for 60-plus channels; add-on packages ranging from $5 to $15, and includes all the major broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW) to go with a wide variety of cable channels that present local sports, news and entertainment programming.  YouTube TV is not disclosing subscriber numbers right now.

We expect to see steaming of TV programming continue to increase in 2018.  Nielsen research showed that across the local markets it measures in the U.S. that online streaming increased on average by 30% between 2016 and 2017.  This research showed that more Americans are cutting the cord and increasingly viewing content on the smartphones and tablets via services like YouTube TV.

While streaming behavior varies by household type and market, last December, according to Nielsen, streaming usage increased on average by 30 percent over 2016. Not only are Americans cutting the cord and increasingly viewing content on their smartphones and tablets via streaming services like YouTube TV, but many local TV stations have been putting their original content on OTT platforms as well.

The ability of media buyers to use TV ratings that account for all program viewing is a step in the right direction for the advertising industry.  The digital and traditional media silos have to be merged and measuring them as one will help get us there.