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Audience boosts as Nielsen reworks methodology

Publishers have received a boost in audience numbers following Nielsen’s announcement of a series of changes to its monthly data reporting, providing publishers with the most comprehensive audience data in the market.

The new weekly and monthly metric, called Digital Content Ratings Monthly, will report off-platform audiences for the first time, widening Nielsen’s scope of measure to include Google AMP, Facebook Secondary Crediting Video and Facebook Instant Articles.

The changes have seen a number of new news brands enter the top 10, including The Australian, APN Australian Regional Media – News Network and perthnow.

News.com.au, Nine.com.au and ABC News Websites have retained the top 3 positions, each gaining around 3 million in audience. Daily Mail Australia jumped from 10th place to fourth between April and May.

The Daily Telegraph re-entered the top 10 for the first time since October 2017.

Industry-endorsed readership metric Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (emma) also will receive a boost when Digital Content Ratings Monthly is integrated with the existing data.

Brands can attribute a large portion of any boost in audience to smartphone, which received a significant measurement upgrade with increased reporting of off-platform and in-app consumption and mobile video.

Notable absences from the list include smh.com.au, Yahoo7 News Websites and BBC, who ranked fourth, fifth and sixth in April. This is mostly in a response to the new data consolidation methodology.

Total audiences will be collected with a combination of tagging and panel data, to be consolidated into one metric. Fairfax Media’s decision to not subscribe to Nielsen’s measurement in March this year means that the publisher will not tag its content, therefore, it cannot be tracked by Nielsen. A spokesperson for the publisher would not comment on whether the announced changes would cause Fairfax to re-evaluate its position.

Yahoo7 is currently in the process of implementing the changes on its new platform.

The BBC has pulled out over European General Data Protection Regulation concerns over privacy relating to tagging and the global inconsistency in measurement. The global news site currently uses ComScore in other markets.

Nielsen’s Monique Perry, managing director, media, said the new data would provide a complete audience view to the competitive marketplace.

“Digital Content Ratings Monthly will allow publishers to use Nielsen’s Software Development Kit (SDK) to tag all content it creates, allowing the data company to easily follow and identify when content is used across the web. Nielsen will continue working with media quality panels to remove any bias or attribution error from the SDK data,” she said.

“This was our hardest upgrade to date and has required incredible collaboration from publishers to tag all their content and to test our solutions, as well as off-platform providers to integrate with our measurement solution.

“It is only through the acceptance of the Nielsen SDK integration that we are able to independently measure audiences consuming content off-platform and this co-operation is enabling independent third-party audience verification. Nielsen will still deliver independent panel only audience metrics for the many websites that do not integrate the SDK and this will deliver monthly audiences for content consumed on-platform only.”

The boost in news brand audience is mostly attributed to smart phone consumption.

Digital Content Ratings Monthly has been endorsed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau as the industry metric for readership measurement.

IAB Australia acting CEO Gai Le Roy said the changes were a testament to the level collaboration with the local digital industry.

“The need for independent, verified media metrics that are comparable across players is stronger than ever,” she said.

“Australia is the first market globally to introduce a digital audience currency that has broad monthly ratings coverage across both text and video content for on and off-platform to give digital publishers – big and small – the opportunity to report their complete audience.”

News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller said the evolution of audience measurement provided increased transparency around digital audiences.

“We are supportive of the industry’s new independent measurement solution as it provides more comprehensive coverage of digital audiences and the content they are consuming,” Mr Miller said.

“Third party measurement is an important part of our data set, providing valuable insight into our digital audiences. This change in methodology is aligned with all of our sites now tagged… reiterating our commitment to trust for both consumers and the commercial market.”

The past metric, known as Digital Ratings (Monthly), measured core audiences only via publishers, websites, apps and desktop video. It will still be available to publishers with the new name, Nielsen Digital Panel.

emma to reflect new metric

Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (emma) will reflect the wider audience numbers when Digital Content Ratings is integrated with the existing data in the first half of 2019.

Emma recently announced a collaboration with Nielsen to integrate its Consumer & Media View product into the metric’s data.

The latest developments will see Nielsen’s Digital Panel and Digital Content Ratings used to bolster data collected by Ipsos.

Mal Dale, managing director of The Readership Works who administer emma, said: “Integrating Nielsen’s DCR data into the emma cross-platform metric in 2019 will be a huge step forward for the publishing industry and its customers. Most notably from the perspective of the continued development of emma, DCR will extend measurement to off-platform publisher audiences.

“Additionally, the number of magazine publications that will be able to get a currency-level digital audience measurement included in emma will increase significantly. In the interim, emma will continue to report total audience readership using Nielsen NPD (formerly DRM) data.”

What publishers can expect from Nielsen Digital Panel compared to Digital Content Ratings.
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