The concept of family is dead… well, at least when it comes to measuring the media viewing behaviors of households. It served a useful purpose in the days when homes had a single television and families gathered together during Primetime viewing hours, but in this era of individualized programming and connected devices, there is no more value in family. As this IAB survey shows, audiences are viewing media content on many different devices these days, not just traditional televisions. This means viewers are no longer confined to the “household” when watching media content. Furthermore, a recent study by Conviva, a leading online media measurement and analytics company, shows that the number of homes consuming multiple content streams during primetime hours increased by 28% between 2012 and 2013. In other words, when someone in the house is watching a show on television, it’s ever more likely that others
are watching programming of their own choosing on other devices within that same household.
Of course, this presents challenges and opportunities relative to traditional broadcast measurement practices. What becomes of the Neilson family when the family has died off and the walls of the household have crumbled? It appears Nielson is looking to the same place everybody else looks when it’s time to celebrate individuality: Facebook. The two companies recently announced a program that will kick off this Fall to measure viewing behavior through your Facebook account. Whether or not it’s appropriate to use a social network to measure unrelated consumer behavior is a conversation for another day, but both companies claim their methodologies prioritize anonymity and will only focus on measurement (at least out of the gate). So, congratulations, you are no longer standing in the shadow of your family – you are an individual. On the other hand, when it comes to viewing behavior and advertising dollars, you are not just an individual, you are now also a person of interest.