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Statement on Total Content Ratings (TCR) – Phased Release Plan

6 minute read | September 2016

For our March 1, 2017, statement on Total Content Ratings, please click here.

New York, NY – Sept. 19, 2016 – Since the beginning of the year, Nielsen has met regularly with members of our Senior Research Council, which is comprised of 25 of our largest television and agency clients, to discuss the implementation of Nielsen’s Total Audience measurement system. We greatly appreciate the input the council has provided and its feedback on how we bring Total Audience measurement to market.

Currently, dozens of TV and digital media brands are enabled with components of Total Audience measurement. Nielsen is working across business functions with our clients during this period of evaluation. We do not underestimate the importance of the rigor of this work, as clients use our metrics to make decisions on content, programming, distribution, and as a currency for ad planning and settlement.

In alignment with what our clients have requested, Nielsen has commenced a phased release schedule for Total Content Ratings tools and data:

  • Aug. 1, 2016: The Total Content Ratings toolset became available to all participating publishers with the ability to see data for other publishers—an important milestone in evaluation.
  • Fourth Quarter 2016: The participating publisher release will continue. In addition, Nielsen will also make select data available to agencies and the press.
  • January 1, 2017: The Total Content Ratings toolset will become available to agencies in addition to publishers.  Nielsen will continue to make select data available to the press.
  • March 1, 2017: The Total Content Ratings toolset will be available to all Nielsen clients.

This multi-phased release plan enables participating publishers, then agencies, to evaluate data before the final release phase in March. Between now and March 1, 2017, clients with access will be able to use the data for internal purposes only. Effective March, all clients will be able to use the data externally to support their business needs.

“At A&E Networks, our investment in original programming has driven success across our network portfolio over a variety of platforms,” said Don Robert, EVP Research & Analytics. “Nielsen’s Total Audience Measurement and framework allows us to begin to tell that success story and provide opportunities for deeper insights into our audiences beyond just the linear experience.”

“Total Audience marks the evolution of audience measurement and addresses some of the long-standing challenges the industry has had with accurately measuring cross-platform content and advertising. We are implementing Total Audience and working with Nielsen to evaluate the data and understand how it reflects the new multi-platform consumer and impacts the future of our business,” said Tom Ziangas, SVP Research at AMC Networks Inc.

“CBS’s content is being consumed across multiple platforms and devices,” said David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer, CBS Corporation and President of CBS VISION. “We have been working closely with Nielsen on Total Audience since last year and we are pleased with the results thus far. We are deep in the process of evaluating the data and considering its impact on the market, our programming and our advertising partners. We are in support of the syndication schedule for the data and we are looking forward to working with Nielsen to further expand measurement across even more platforms in the near future.”

“As Nielsen produces Total Content Ratings as part of its Total Audience service, necessary time is needed for its clients and their partners to review and understand the changes in both how metrics are calculated vs. existing Nielsen measurement as well as time to evaluate the inclusion of viewing on platforms not currently measured.  We support a regimented schedule in the evaluation of this new data to ensure the integrity of the marketplace represented,” said Lisa Heimann, VP, Disney/ABC Multiplatform Research.

“Nielsen is on the right path to Total Audience measurement, but this is a complex and collaborative effort that demands a patient and measured approach toward successful implementation across evolving platforms. The new Total Content Ratings schedule will give us the time we need to complete that process, evaluate results and ensure the best outcome,” said Artie Bulgrin, SVP Global Research & Analytics, ESPN, Inc.  

“Nielsen’s Total Audience is an important step forward in enabling us to communicate the true scale of audiences and attention to premium television content and ads regardless of where they’re consumed, by delivering cross-platform measurement in common buying and planning metrics. Today we are working with Nielsen to shape the data deliverables and look forward to the syndication of Total Audience and the new paradigm it represents for the industry,” said Audrey Steele, EVP Sales Research Insights & Strategy at FOX Networks.

“We feel that Total Audience Ratings represents a strong step forward in being able to holistically and efficiently communicate the reach and scale of our programming across all screens,” said Julie Piepenkotter, EVP Research at FX Networks.

“As consumer consumption of video content becomes increasingly fluid across screens, having visibility into reliable and consistent cross-screen audience metrics is essential to planning and activating video strategies for our clients. Nielsen’s Total Content Ratings will be an important data stream to help shed light on where, when and how consumers are engaging with content so that we can optimize video strategies that will best deliver business results for marketers,” said Peter Sedlarcik, EVP, Business Insights & Intelligence, Havas Media.

“IPG is focused on optimizing media across platforms and devices which in turn allows us to deliver more effective multiscreen buying and planning. Our goal is to create and deliver advertising that makes an impact on our clients’ business and to do this we have to have a complete understanding of all viewing for ads. We are looking forward to having Nielsen’s Total Audience measurement as part of our toolkit to help deliver the results our clients need,” said Brian Hughes, SVP, Audience Analysis Practice Lead at IPG’s MagnaGlobal unit.

“Today we collaborate with Nielsen on various forms of traditional and digital media measurement. As audiences continue to become more diverse and their consumption habits evolve, it is important that we work together to capture this audience. From a consumer insights perspective, the data coming from Total Audience is extremely important and we look forward to seeing how this data can become actionable across Univision,” said Jed Meyer, EVP, Corporate Research at Univision Communications.


Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit