Even without those specifics, Nielsen will still be able to collect information such as who in the household is watching through broadband, and how much they watch. That is data that will at least be valuable to advertisers and marketers trying to target specific consumer groups. Nielsen's change was first reported in The Hollywood Reporter.
When the industry will be able to see how much people are watching through broadband, it will increase the pressure for universal encoding — networks and advertising agencies will want to know what those new viewers are watching, said David Poltrack, chief research executive at CBS.
If, as expected, broadband viewing continues to increase, Nielsen's change at least ensures that this won't be ignored, Poltrack said.
"All of these things are designed to keep them ahead of the game," he said.
Brad Adgate, top researcher for Horizon Media, noted that several networks have seen the median age of their viewers increase significantly over the past few years. In the way television does business, older viewers are less valuable to advertisers. Presumably, younger viewers are more likely to be watching through broadband — and many had dropped off Nielsen's radar, he said.
Nielsen must also develop a separate metering system for tablets and mobile devices, and Fuhrer said that work is ongoing.