Amazon picks Nielsen to measure ‘Thursday Night Football’ streams

    • Nielsen and Amazon signed a three-year measurement agreement around the e-commerce giant’s broadcasts of NFL “Thursday Night Football,” per a press release.
    • Beginning with the 2022 season, Nielsen will measure full coverage of the program on Prime Video and Twitch, along with over-the-air stations in local markets and out-of-home viewing. “Thursday Night Football” will be measured and processed like all other NFL games using Nielsen’s panel.
    • Nielsen bills the first-of-its-kind deal as evidence that its embattled national TV measurement service is able to handle changes to consumer viewing behaviors. Amazon is providing advertisers with metrics from its platform that combine first- and third-party data.

    Nielsen’s pact with Amazon around “Thursday Night Football” demonstrates how the measurement firm is evolving its offerings amid a shifting TV landscape and other challenges to its long-standing industry dominance. The deal represents the first time a streaming service will have a live program measured as part of Nielsen’s national TV ratings. Amazon last year nabbed the exclusive rights to the coveted “Thursday Night Football” program in an historic 11-year agreement. 

    Nielsen is arguing for the continued viability of its national TV ratings panel by porting the solution to Amazon’s digital model, with plans to measure pregame, in-game and post-game content on Prime Video and Twitch the same way the firm does for other NFL games. The move also provides advertisers with the same metrics used across national networks for some of TV’s top telecasts.

    “We are committed to delivering comparable, comprehensive measurement of all audiences, across all platforms, and this agreement to measure [‘Thursday Night Football’] viewership is a testament to that commitment,” said Deirdre Thomas, managing director for U.S. audience measurement product sales at Nielsen, in a statement.

    For Amazon, the use of Nielsen’s tools allows advertisers to make “apples-to-apples” comparisons across their media investments, said Srishti Gupta, director of media measurement at Amazon Ads, in a statement. The tech giant is also able to provide advertisers with insights around brand awareness, engagement and sales. The combination of first- and third-party data demonstrates the power of Amazon’s capabilities as an ad platform. Amazon’s ad sales segment grew revenue 18% year-on-year to $8.76 billion in the second quarter.

    Scoring measurement rights for “Thursday Night Football” is a big win for Nielsen, which has faced continued struggles amid the decline of linear TV and the rise of streaming. The pressure reached its peak last year when it lost accreditation from industry watchdog Media Rating Council over measurement discrepancies that arose during the height of the pandemic. 

    Nielsen last week announced additions to its panel assets and expects to complete the required audit components for re-accreditation in the next quarter. It has also worked to launch its Nielsen One cross-platform measurement solution, which it plans to bring to market by the end of the year. Nielsen in April was acquired by a private equity consortium for $16 billion. 


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