Nielsen Gets With the Times, Adds Facebook to Social Media Ratings

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While networks continue to fight with digital streamers about where the future of television lies, Nielsen reminds us that evolution is the key to everyone’s survival.

As part of its new multi-platform evaluation system, the ratings tracker will now include Facebook in its social media metrics. The move is a big one considering Nielsen hasn’t added a social platform to its evaluation methods since it began tracking Twitter TV ratings nearly three years ago.

Facebook will reportedly provide Nielsen with anonymous conversation and shares about its network-related media material, including TV series and high profile events like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. Through the use of likes and other ad buyer useful info, the company plans to provide a broader understanding of how and who is watching. There are plans to make the Facebook ratings system available in the U.S, Australia, Italy and Mexico markets by the middle of 2016.

“We applaud Nielsen for working with the industry to bring together major social media players in order to provide comprehensive measurement,” David Poltrack, chief research officer at CBS Corporation and president of CBS VISION, told Deadline. “Nielsen’s measurement of multiple social networks, each of which consumers use in different and unique ways, will provide programmers with a more holistic view of the total social conversation and deeper insights.”

Facebook’s addition is a part of the company’s approach to keeping itself—and more traditional television viewing methods—afloat. There has always been some degree of critique about how Nielsen evaluates viewership. Its representative sampling method, which has guided the network process of setting ad rates for decades, has left many wondering how accurate its reported data is. Not to mention the company was sued for billions after being accused of manipulating ratings by India’s largest news network, New Delhi Television Limited.

The persistent beating ratings have taken over the last decade, with the increase in pirating and introduction of new media platforms such as Netflix, has forced the billion dollar industry to begin addressing its evolving relationship with viewers. Nielsen’s inclusion of Facebook ratings will only help networks, particularly broadcast’s big four and The CW, get a better handle on how much their content is being consumed.

“Nielsen Social measurement is evolving to provide a comprehensive, standardized picture of how consumers are responding to program content through social media, wherever and whenever,” Sean Casey, President of Nielsen Social said.