Nielsen and Amazon Prime Video disagree about the ratings for recent live streams of Thursday Night Football.
- Nielsen says that Game 7 on October 20 averaged 7.8 million viewers and Amazon says it averages 8.9 million. Previous weeks’ games were claimed to average 10.3 million or 12.1 million viewers, respectively according to Nielsen and Amazon.
- “After each of its Thursday night games this season, Amazon has publicly contradicted Nielsen in this manner, one of the boldest challenges ever to a company that for generations has monopolized the count of people watching programs on television,” says AP.
- Amazon is consistently claiming higher viewership, without directly saying Nielsen is incorrect.
- “I don’t at all believe that Amazon’s numbers are not right. I don’t believe that our numbers are not right,” says Neilson spokesman Connie Kim.
- Amazon Prime Video will broadcast another nine games this season before December 29 and holds an exclusive 11-year contract with the NFL for future broadcasts.
Why it’s News
The situation is creating confusion for advertisers—to whom Amazon Prime Video is responsible for pleasing. The company promised 12.5 million viewers for Game 1. Advertisers thus far are deferring to Nielsen’s judgment, AP reports.
“Nielsen, as it has for years, follows the viewing habits in a panel of homes across the country and, from that limited sample, derives an estimate of how many people watch a particular program. That number is currency in the media industry, meaning it is used to determine advertising rates,” says AP.
Nielsen says that different methodologies used between companies might be the source of different results.
As we previously reported, Amazon Prime began its first exclusive stream of Thursday Night Football on September 15. The company internally knew that the stream had done very well but didn’t release numbers until Nielsen revealed a week later that it averaged roughly 13 million viewers for its initial live stream.
“The dispute has clear implications for the future. Streamers haven’t had much incentive for measurements of daily viewing to be publicized, in part because people don’t watch their shows the same way as broadcast television, and they haven’t needed numbers verified from a third-party source for advertisers. But with Netflix about to introduce advertising, that can all change very rapidly. And if other companies develop technology that can measure viewing more precisely, the precedent has now been set for publicly disputing Nielsen’s numbers,” says AP.