According to the Wall Street Journal, Nielsen will begin tracking how much TV people are watching through Netflix and Amazon next month. The goal is to give networks a sense for how much streaming services cut into regular TV watching.
Spoiler: People who use Netflix and Amazon watch less regular TV. According to a Nielsen report given to a client, and reviewed by the WSJ:
After people sign up for streaming video services, they watch less TV than they used to, Nielsen found: 20% less, in the 18-34 demographic, and 19% less in 25-54.
The new Nielsen measurements are designed to give some teeth to the long-held assumption that licensing television shows to streaming videos services hurts regular TV watching. Until now, though, content owners haven't had much leverage to charge more for their shows because Netflix and Amazon hold their audience metrics for themselves. Hulu, which is owned mostly by TV networks, is the only big service that shares its numbers with content owners. The new metrics give clients a view of how much people are actually watching on streaming services.
Of course, this could be bad for Netflix and Amazon, who could very well see the rates they pay to licence TV shows going up as a result. It's worth noting that they aren't so much participating as being measured against their will.
Still it's not clear what effect these Nielsen measurements might actually have on what programming gets to your house and how it gets there. It might keep new shows from ending up in your streaming queues a little longer, but it's also possible that it might just result in more lucrative licensing deals for content owners. We'll just have to wait and see [WSJ via Consumerist]