ArtsWatch: Nielsen's Ongoing Evolution

Twitter ratings go live, Arbitron acquisition approved and cross-platform ratings announced
September 30, 2013 -- 10:41 am PDT
By Philip Merrill /

In recent news ...

Nielsen's Moves Track Transformations In Consumer Content Usage
TV ratings service Nielsen was a focus of attention as the Federal Trade Commission approved the firm's acquisition of radio ratings service Arbitron on Sept. 20, and Nielsen announced its cross-platform measurements currently in the works during a Sept. 24 session at an Advertising Week conference. Responding to the FTC announcement, Nielsen CEO David Calhoun said, "The area of cross-platform measurement is still in its early stages." This was reflected later by Variety coverage of Nielsen's future plans for mobile and its simultaneous coverage of a multinetwork event held in August that reviewed various digital platform metrics. While the new metrics Nielsen announced are still a year away, its long-awaited ratings partnership with Twitter went live on Sept. 30. Nielsen also released an interesting related fact on Sept. 18 that 70 percent of tweets posted during live TV are sent during program airtime versus during commercials. Content distribution and consumer engagement are evolving along unexpected lines, including multichannel consumption. Although Nielsen's moves to keep up are gradual, suiting the need for reliable results, its efforts to be nimble are also clear and the results are bound to be interesting.

TiVo Studies Television/Internet Advertising Campaign's Influence On Purchases
An intriguing cross-media study by TiVo Research and Analytics released on Sept. 19 detailed various effects on purchases that resulted from a television and digital advertising campaign. For example, television did best at attracting new customers while digital worked best at persuading previous customers to buy again, but the two were most effective combined. Purchases were tracked over a 20-week period and most occurred after the first four weeks of a campaign. Starcom MediaVest Group Executive Vice President of Innovations Tracey Scheppach said, "The study shows that cross-platform campaigns and measurement ... allow us unprecedented understanding of how multiple screens are working together."

New ISP Infringement Rulings On The Safe Harbor Defense
Federal copyright law provides Internet service providers with safe harbor protection from infringement claims provided they take down infringing material when notified, and two recent U.S. District Court rulings against ISPs offer new insights into what that shield covers. On Sept. 18 the Southern District of New York court ruled that video-sharing site Vimeo must go to trial to determine whether its actions regarding 55 videos were insufficient to protect it from a major label lawsuit, or in other words, whether Vimeo had red flag knowledge of infringement for those videos and chose to look the other way. Kudos to The Hollywood Reporter coverage for noting that the court also exempted pre-1972 recordings from safe harbor protection because they do not fall under federal copyright law, a precise issue of scope that could be the basis of huge liabilities for ISPs in the future. Separately, on Sept. 20 the Southern District of Florida released its opinion against Hotfile finding in favor of claims by major movie studios. The initial ruling against the cyberlocker was announced on Aug. 28 so the description of its legal basis has been eagerly awaited. The short version is that a tremendous amount of infringement was committed by relatively few Hotfile users while the cyberlocker benefited financially and did not adhere to the safe harbor's takedown procedures by doing something about it.

The Recording Academy actively represents the music community on such issues as intellectual property rights, music piracy, archiving and preservation, and censorship concerns. In pursuing its commitment to addressing these and other issues, The Recording Academy undertakes a variety of national initiatives. ArtsWatch is a key part of an agenda aimed at raising public awareness of and support for the rights of artists. To become more involved, visit Advocacy Action @ and sign up for Advocacy Action E-lerts.

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