Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

Spotify is expanding beyond music and podcasts by adding audiobooks. The company is starting out with just over 300,000 titles, available for purchase in the U.S. “This is just the beginning,” says Spotify, promising a geographic expansion. In June, the audio streamer completed its purchase of global audiobooks distributor Findaway, announced last year. The acquisition was designed to make it a major player on entry, competing with Amazon’s Audible, the nation’s biggest audiobook service. Unlike Audible, Spotify is individually pricing audiobook titles and offering them à la carte, not by subscription. Continue reading Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

Plex Goes Social for Content Discovery, Adds Music Channels

Free streaming media service Plex is testing a new community-oriented feature called Discover Together that lets users add friends and keep tabs on their favorite programs, viewing their ratings and bookmarks. In addition to enhancing engagement by prompting online discussions, Plex hopes the crowd-sourced community data can eventually help power its recommendation engine. The idea is for Discover Together to launch with a high degree of privacy, inviting users to fill out Plex profiles with their geographic location and Plex Pass status, extending individual friend invites using a Plex username or email. The feature is currently in beta for web, iOS and Android users. Continue reading Plex Goes Social for Content Discovery, Adds Music Channels

Nielsen Says Viewers ‘Love’ Streaming but Find It Confusing

Seventy two percent of Americans say they “love” their user experience with streaming services, according to Nielsen’s State of Play report, which notes that 93 percent of those surveyed will increase their streaming subscriptions or make no change, despite nearly half the respondents admitting they’re somewhat overwhelmed by options. As of February, U.S. viewers could choose from more than 817,000 unique program titles, compared to about 646,000 in 2019. In the 12 months ending February 2022, Americans’ upped their average weekly video streaming time by 18 percent, to 169.4 billion streaming minutes, from 143.2 billion. Continue reading Nielsen Says Viewers ‘Love’ Streaming but Find It Confusing

Spotify Continues Push into Podcast Space with New Ratings

Music streaming and media services provider Spotify is implementing a five-star rating system, not unlike Apple’s, in an attempt to become a bigger player in the podcast discovery space. The challenger has been coming on strong. In a Q3 2021 earnings call, the company cited Edison Research and internal tracking to proclaim Spotify the No. 1 podcast platform in the United States, squeaking by Apple in monthly listeners. Now, Spotify is hoping that its ratings will help create its own heat-seeking list, comparable to Apple Podcasts’ “New and Noteworthy” curated list. Continue reading Spotify Continues Push into Podcast Space with New Ratings

Twitter Formalizes Its Birdwatch Program with Aliases, Profiles

Twitter is tweaking its Birdwatch crowdsourced fact-check feature, adding aliases so contributors can conceal their identities when notating someone’s tweet. The company says its goal in having people append anonymously is “keeping focus on the content of notes rather than who’s writing them,” reducing bias and tempering polarization. To ensure aliases don’t overshadow accountability, all Birdwatch accounts now have profile pages that aggregate past contributions, and the ratings those contributions received from other Birdwatchers, accruing credibility to contributors whose notes and ratings are consistently found helpful by others. Continue reading Twitter Formalizes Its Birdwatch Program with Aliases, Profiles

Netflix Updates Measurement Charts to Include Viewing Hours

Netflix has changed its audience measurement system to reflect the total number of hours viewed. The streaming service had previously ranked viewership based on users who watched at least two minutes of a program. The company has also switched to a weekly schedule of releasing viewer data rather than quarterly. The Korean drama “Squid Game” remains Netflix’s No. 1 show of all time, having accrued a massive 1.65 billion hours of viewing in the 28 days following its September 17 premiere. That’s about 2.6 times the viewership of No. 2 “Bridgerton,” with 625 million hours. Continue reading Netflix Updates Measurement Charts to Include Viewing Hours

Ampersand Rolls Out ‘Total TV’ to Measure Multi-Screen Data

Advertising sales and data company Ampersand is stepping up to promote its Total TV Measurement solution at a time when the go-to industry ratings firm, Nielsen, is under fire. Total TV is designed to help advertisers strategize and purchase multi-screen marketing campaigns. Ampersand is owned by Comcast, Charter Communications and Cox Communications, and sells network, spot and addressable advertising that targets viewers based on viewing data from 40 million set-top box households. Ampersand reaches 85 million households across more than 150 networks. Continue reading Ampersand Rolls Out ‘Total TV’ to Measure Multi-Screen Data

NBCU Proposes It Is Time to Develop a New Ratings Service

In the wake of widespread discontent with the Nielsen national television ratings service, NBCUniversal issued a request for proposals to 50 media companies on August 2 to create a “new measurement ecosystem for us that reflects the future.” The media giant said it is working to assemble “a full suite of interoperable measurement solutions that are as advanced, diverse, easy-to-use, and multi-platform as the ways people watch content.” Earlier this month, Nielsen asked to suspend accreditation of its national service. Continue reading NBCU Proposes It Is Time to Develop a New Ratings Service

Pause on Nielsen Accreditation Does Not Appease Advertisers

In an unusual move, Nielsen Holdings requested that the Media Rating Council (MRC) pause accreditation for its national TV rating service, leaving its core product without this crucial seal of approval for the first time since the 1960s. Nielsen has been under pressure to modernize its national TV measurement product, and noted that there were also concerns regarding its panel, the people used to assess ratings in the United States. The MRC is responsible for auditing and accrediting media measurement processes. Continue reading Pause on Nielsen Accreditation Does Not Appease Advertisers

TV Networks Urge Rating Council to Pull Nielsen Accreditation

The Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), a trade group with members including Disney, ESPN, FOX, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and others, urged the Media Rating Council (MRC) to strip Nielsen’s accreditation, stating that, “Nielsen’s COVID-period conduct as a ratings service violated at least five minimum standards, with the damage done to their largest subscriber clients still creating material negative impact into July 2021.” MRC chief executive George Ivie said his group takes the VAB’s concerns seriously but has “an independent process to execute.” Continue reading TV Networks Urge Rating Council to Pull Nielsen Accreditation

Nielsen Unveils The Gauge, a Metric for Streaming Platforms

Global research firm Nielsen has unveiled The Gauge, a new metric for measuring monthly total TV and streaming audiences. The company revealed that, in May 2021, 64 percent of the time U.S. viewers watched content via network and cable TV and 26 percent of the time watched via streaming services. Another 9 percent of the time, they used their TV screens for content recorded on DVRs or playing video games. Nielsen added that streaming was at 20 percent last year and 14 percent in 2019 and that its share could go up to 33 percent by the end of 2021. Continue reading Nielsen Unveils The Gauge, a Metric for Streaming Platforms

Amazon Profits Rise as Do Fake Reviews and Inflated Ratings

Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Amazon added 50 million Prime members and made $26+ billion in profits. Also surging, however, are fake reviews that bolster ratings for vendors but sow mistrust among shoppers. Amazon made it easier to leave a rating, such as one-tap ratings that allow the consumer to submit a star rating without accompanying text, but the attempt to instill confidence among consumers has largely backfired. Amazon’s one-day shipping has also made it much harder for small businesses to survive the transition to online sales. Continue reading Amazon Profits Rise as Do Fake Reviews and Inflated Ratings

Nielsen to Invest More in Streaming, Live TV Ratings Product

Nielsen Holdings will increase spending to improve how it measures TV audiences, especially its new Nielsen ONE product, said chief financial officer Linda Zukauckas. The news follows Nielsen’s $2.4 billion sale of Global Connect (since renamed NielsenIQ), which measures retail shopping for packaged goods companies, to Advent International Corporation. Nielsen ONE combines streaming and live TV ratings and is due to unveil next year. Nielsen hopes it will be a U.S. ratings standard by 2024 and, soon, a global standard. Continue reading Nielsen to Invest More in Streaming, Live TV Ratings Product

Nielsen to Introduce New TV Ratings That Include Streaming

Nielsen will debut a new TV ratings system beginning in Q4 of 2022 that will incorporate digital viewing, including streaming TV, into its metrics of current traditional TV audiences. In 2021, it will preview the new data with existing ratings. Nielsen will need the approval of the TV networks and tech companies and hopes to gain ad seller and buyer support by the start of the fall 2024 TV season. Nielsen will also need to integrate its new metrics across platforms and data sources to ensure reliably comparable information. Continue reading Nielsen to Introduce New TV Ratings That Include Streaming

Nielsen Will Split into Two Firms Following Activist Pressure

Following pressure from activist investor Elliott Management, Nielsen Holdings announced plans to split the media research firm into two independent publicly traded companies. Nielsen revealed it would create two separate companies by spinning off its Global Connect business. In a deal expected to close in 9-12 months, the two companies will be named Global Connect and Global Media. “Both the Global Media and Global Connect businesses are independently essential to the industries they serve, but each business has unique dynamics,” explained CEO David Kenny, who will stay on as chief exec of the Global Media business.  Continue reading Nielsen Will Split into Two Firms Following Activist Pressure