WarnerMedia Wants To Launch Its Own Version Of Nielsen Ratings: Here's Why That Matters

WarnerMedia has revealed that it is going to take a new approach to how it measures ratings for its programming across its various networks and streaming platforms, such as HBO Max and CNN. Nielsen is the titan of handling this in the industry, but WarnerMedia and other TV giants have been unhappy with the company for some time now, and that has led some to look elsewhere. In this case, WarnerMedia is looking inward, intending to create its own ratings insight beginning in 2022.

As reported by Variety, Andrea Zapata, head of data, research, and insights for WarnerMedia, recently revealed this important nugget of information in an interview with the outlet. The company is currently having conversations with various vendors in the audience measurement space, in the hopes of using this data to pitch to advertisers next year. Zapata had the following to say:

"We are doing this because we believe that there has got to be a better alternative in measurement solutions, and we have a responsibility to our investments, to our clients and partners, and to counting the value of our audience — full stop."

The outlet further notes that WarnerMedia isn't just looking to measure "gauge reach and frequency of advertising exposure, but also how to tabulate audience behaviors, such as asking to receive a coupon or visit an auto dealer's showroom." The idea is that advertisers would be able to compare WarnerMedia's measurement system to others. The company is said to be in talks with Comscore, iSpot, TVSquared, 605, and VideoAmp to handle this proposed new ratings business.

Nielsen Is (Or Was) The Gold Standard

Nielsen has, for years, been the industry standard when it comes to measuring ratings for TV shows. The digital age has changed a lot of things, though, and the streaming wars seem to be advancing faster than the company can evolve to meet the specific needs of its clients. It is, on the one hand, very understandable that companies would want to look for a new option. NBCUniversal is also said to be exploring a new option. The problem is, taking the Thanos "I'll do it myself" approach is more than a little problematic in this instance.

From an advertiser's perspective, WarnerMedia would be trying to offer you a product, such as a show like "Succession," and handing over data collected to effectively set the price for an ad deal. Without a third party, it's easy to see how this could get a little dicey or even questionable. Zapata did add that "Nielsen has our past. They are definitely a part of our business as usual. They can earn a place in our future."

WarnerMedia and other media giants that rely on Nielsen pay hundreds of millions of dollars for the viewership data provided. The problem is, the company hasn't effectively adapted to the streaming era, or at least not on a level that satisfies all of these companies that are now going all-in on streaming. This issue has been raging for months (per Variety), with the pandemic exacerbating things.

At the very least, this may be the kick that Nielsen needs to adapt its metrics to the modern TV landscape. If not, we may see more companies take the Netflix approach and only reveal data they want to reveal, while sharing the data they need to share with advertising partners.