by Cyrus Farivar
Nielsen, the premier American television ratings agency, will finally enter the modern age when it begins to count people watching TV on smartphones and tablets starting next fall.
The agency uses a special set-top box that plugs into the televisions of its 10,000 volunteers nationwide and monitors what shows Americans are watching. (The volunteers are called Nielsen families.) However, until September 2014, Nielsen’s count hasn’t included anything watched in real-time on a digital device. (In other words, Hulu fans, you don’t count).
“Networks are starving for a number they can publish that really represents their audience not just on TV but across all platforms,” Eric Solomon, Nielsen’s senior VP of global audience measurement, toldVariety. “I think it will start changing the narrative that ‘people are not watching TV shows.’ It’s that they’re watching on different platforms.”