Comcast and Nielsen to Start Testing Commercial Ratings for Tablets — Common Currency Across Platforms Is the Ultimate Goal

May 21, 2012  •  Post A Comment

By Jeanine Poggi
Advertising Age

Comcast has reached an agreement with Nielsen to begin testing commercial ratings for viewing that takes place on iPads and mobile devices starting this summer, the company told Ad Age during The Cable Show convention taking place in Boston this week.

Nielsen has systems in place to measure on-demand and online viewing, but C3 ratings for tablets have been the missing piece of the puzzle, said Matthew Strauss, senior VP-digital and emerging platforms at Comcast.

The ultimate goal is to aggregate all measurement into a single, unified currency, Mr. Strauss said.

Comcast is also looking to get other cable operators on board. "We want an industry solution," Mr. Strauss said.

Creating a measurement system for tablet and mobile devices, where consumers are watching an increasing amount of video, has been a point of contention in the advertising industry.

Mr. Strauss said if the test goes well, it will be critical to making tablets and mobile phones a viable platform for advertisers.

The company wants to be platform-agnostic, but needs an effective measurement system to do that.

The CW has for the last few seasons offered combined TV-digital packages to clients, and its executives hinted last week the network was working to broaden its system to encompass mobile devices. Fox last year unveiled what it called its "Fluidity" effort, which would let advertisers buy inventory across different media venues. ABC followed suit this year, offering to sell ad inventory in various "on demand" types of viewing, such as its digital video player.

Separately at The Cable Show, Comcast introduced two new products on Monday: the first rollout of the much-hyped X1 and its Dayview platform.

X1 is a cloud-based platform that combines what Comcast has learned about the web and video, Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit said at a press briefing. The service will include customized applications made for the TV. It will also convert mobile phones and tablets into remote controls with swipe functionality.

With Dayview, Comcast is looking to help consumers manage their lives by combining life, home and entertainment information in a central location. The personalized welcome screen can include weather, traffic, personal appointments, new video-on-demand and recorded programming as well as Comcast’s Xfinity home, which remotely manages home security, lights and temperatures.

"Dayview will send you reminders," Mr. Smit said. "Let’s say the Red Sox are on tonight, but you have a dinner appointment. It will send you a message asking you if you want to record the game."

"If you are on the road and you left your basement lights on for 24 hours, it will send you a message asking if you want to turn them off," he continued.

Speech recognition is in the pipeline for X1, Mr. Smit said. While the function wasn’t announced as part of the X1 rollout, it is in beta and could arrive late this year or early in 2013.

Both programs have the ability to incorporate advertising, Mr. Smit said, but currently Comcast is working on getting the consumer feature right first.

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