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Nielsen bolsters Total Audience strategy with AT&T deal

Nielsen last week announced a partnership with AT&T that will give the measurement company access to anonymized set top box data from DIRECT and U-Verse households. With the deal, Nielsen will begin to combine panel data with viewing data from the two services, allowing for a more comprehensive look into 210 local TV markets. Integrating this type of data is part of Nielsen’s Total Audience measurement approach, which looks to move beyond just panel data.

“Combining Nielsen’s high-quality panels with anonymized set-top box data from AT&T’s DIRECTV and U-Verse homes is at the center of our TV measurement strategy to enhance how TV viewing is measured. Nielsen is leveraging big data and its panel data to deliver comprehensive, reliable and in-depth measurement of how people consume content in today’s changing media landscape,” said Megan Clarken, President of Nielsen Product Leadership. “We continue to innovate and leverage all types of data in order to enhance our local and eventually national audience measurement solutions. The inclusion of data from various providers supplements Nielsen’s panel data by providing increased granularity and more robust insights broadening our total audience view.”

Networks and advertisers alike have criticized Nielsen for relying on outdated measurement techniques, especially as more viewers consume TV content on other devices. Nielsen data is the currency that billions of dollars worth of advertising is transacted on. Deals like the AT&T one will enable Nielsen to evolve quickly, especially as it faces new competition from the comScore-Rentrak merger.