Nielsen Introduces New Ratings for Streaming Services

Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed Partners, said Netflix was signaling its approval of The Gauge because the new metric shows that the platform, along with YouTube, is the streaming leader.

“It also shows that 6 percent of time is spent on Netflix, and where’s that going to be in 10 years?” Mr. Greenfield added. “It shows how much long term runway there is over the next decade.”

“And where’s everybody else?” he continued, referring to the other major streaming services. “There’s all this conversation about the streaming wars, but they’re not the streaming wars if only a few companies dominate — and Netflix is one of them.”

To remain relevant, Nielsen must segue into streaming measurement after decades as the gold standard for traditional TV ratings.

David Kenny, the Nielsen chief executive and the former president of Akamai, a cloud computing company, has known Mr. Hastings more than a decade. The two have discussed Nielsen’s desire to ramp up its efforts at measuring streaming and traditional television all at once.

When Mr. Hastings was asked whether or not he had encouraged Mr. Kenny to release the new stats publicly, he replied, “Yes, at a cocktail level. No, at a financial level.”

For Nielsen, The Gauge is an attempt to give a clearer picture of how American viewing habits have changed, one that better accounts for how people flip back and forth between, say, CNN and “Bridgerton.”

“To the consumer, she’s got her remote control, and she’s moving from live sports over to news down to streaming, and back around,” Mr. Kenny said. “We need to bring the whole industry together to a comparable way of looking at this.”

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