Nielsen’s Gauge Report Doesn’t Tell The Full Story

Nielsen’s Gauge Report Doesn’t Tell The Full Story

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There continues to be much discussion of streaming’s share of total viewing, however, there is still far less discussion about the share of total viewing that has advertising. Advertisers cannot reach many of these streaming viewers because some platforms, such as Apple TV+, are advertising-free. Other streaming platforms, such as Hulu, Max (formerly HBO Max), and now Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video offer tiered subscriptions, and the viewer may or may not see ads depending on which tier they pay for.

In fact, on June 20 2024, TVB again issued a press release on the results of Nielsen’s Media Distributor Gauge report, as well as their monthly Gauge report:

The monthly Nielsen Gauge and new Media Distributor Gauge reports provide an analysis of the content and programming that audiences are watching on television, including broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms. However, these reports do not provide the key data needed by advertisers: Where do consumers see their commercials? “The Gauge reports combine all video platforms in one analysis – without separating ad-supported viewing from non-ad supported viewing – which misleads marketers into thinking their commercials can reach significantly more streaming viewers than is possible or the reality,” said Steve Lanzano, TVB CEO and President. “Advertisers’ commercials are only available on ad-supported video platforms. When viewing of ad-supported platforms is analyzed alone, the results are very different from what is shown in the Gauge reports because a large number of streaming viewers do not receive ads. Advertisers need these facts when considering video media investments.”

TVB continues to analyze linear and streaming viewing using Nielsen’s total use of television and streaming platform ratings, and the results showcase the value linear TV represents to advertisers.

The following key points highlight the strength of linear television to advertisers

  • For May 2024, when looking at the Adults 18+ total viewing day (The Gauge report Nielsen continues to share is for people 2+), linear television represents 55% of viewing, compared to streaming TV’s 43%.
Source: Nielsen NPOWER May 2024 Persons 18+ Live+7. Total Day of All Viewing Platforms: Percent of Broadcast, Cable, and Streaming to TUT Levels. MVPD/vMVPD category is included in Linear bucket. From Nielsen’s Gauge FAQ’s, “Other” includes all other TV. This primarily includes all other tuning (unmeasured sources), unmeasured video on demand (VOD), streaming through a cable set top box, gaming, and other device (DVD playback) use. Because streaming via cable set top boxes does not credit respective streaming distributors, these are included in the “other” category.
  • Streaming viewing may be 43% of the total viewing day, but that does not translate to ad-supported viewing. Many SVOD platforms have different tiers, some with ads and some without; Nielsen shows one number for these platforms e.g., Hulu total viewing, versus Hulu with ads and Hulu without ads. As a result, advertisers do not know the number of subscribers viewing ads available to them.
Source: Nielsen NPOWER May 2024 Persons 18+ Live+7. Total Day of Streaming Platforms: Percent of Streaming platforms to Total Streaming. Nielsen Streaming Platform Ratings (With and Without Ads: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Paramount+, Discovery+, Max, Peacock, Netflix, Disney+; No Advertising: Apple TV+). From Nielsen’s Gauge FAQ’s, streaming platforms listed as “other streaming” includes any high-bandwidth video streaming on television that is not individually broken out.
 
  • Recognizing this, the TVB commissioned GfK to do the 2023 SVOD Study to examine and better understand the streaming networks that people pay to get like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, Max, Hulu, Paramount+, Peacock, etc.
Source: GfK TVB SVOD 2023 Study. Persons 18+ TV HH. TV4a-g: What type of subscription does your household have for each of these streaming services?
  • The study showed that given a choice, more adult 18+ subscribers that are already paying for a subscription will pay more to get programming without ads on tiered SVOD platforms. Only 26% of Netflix subscribers (including multi-TV set households where 4% subscribe to both ad-supported and ad-free tiers), 54% of Discovery+ subscribers (including 8% that have both), 29% of Disney+ subscribers (including 3% that have both), 29% of Max subscribers (including 2% that have both), 61% of Hulu subscribers (including 4% that have both), 54% of Paramount+ subscribers (including 4% that have both), and 72% of Peacock subscribers (including 8% that have both), subscribe to an advertising tier. Additionally, on January 29th, 2024, Amazon Prime Video introduced “limited advertisements” in TV shows and movies running on their streaming platform. This was done for all customers unless they opted to pay an additional $2.99 per month to remain advertising-free. Since the 2023 GfK SVOD Study does not have any information on this new advertising tier for Prime Video, we were extremely conservative and assumed that 100% of Amazon Prime Video subscribers can see advertising.
Source: Nielsen NPOWER May 2024 Persons 18+ Live+7. Total Day of Streaming Platforms: Percent of Streaming platforms to Total Streaming. Nielsen Streaming Platform Ratings (With and Without Ads: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Paramount+, Discovery+, Max, Peacock, Netflix, Disney+; No Advertising: Apple TV+). Percentage of subscriptions with ads: GfK TVB SVOD 2023 Study. Persons 18+ TV HH.
  • In assembling a pie that dealt only with platforms that have advertising, we used those results from the 2023 GfK TVB SVOD Study to approximate ad viewing subscribers for those services. Using those percentages, we estimated those Netflix, Discovery+, Disney+, Max, Hulu, Paramount+, Peacock, and Amazon Prime Video subscribers that can see ads represent 21% of the total streaming pie, while 22% chose tiers with no advertising.
Source: Nielsen NPOWER May 2024 Persons 18+ Live+7. Total Day of Streaming Platforms: Percent of Streaming platforms to Total Streaming. Nielsen Streaming Platform Ratings (With and Without Ads: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Discovery+, HBO Max, Peacock, Netflix, Disney+; No Advertising: Apple TV+) Based on GfK SVOD Survey that shows that 26% of Netflix subscribers, 54% of Discovery+ subscribers, 29% of Disney+ subscribers, 29% of Max subscribers, 61% of Hulu subscribers, 54% of Paramount+ subscribers, 72% of Peacock subscribers, and 100% of Amazon Prime Video subscribers that can see ads.
Source: Nielsen NPOWER May 2024 Persons 18+ Live+7. Total Day of Streaming Platforms: Percent of Streaming platforms to Total Streaming. Nielsen Streaming Platform Ratings (With and Without Ads: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Discovery+, HBO Max, Peacock, Netflix, Disney+; No Advertising: Apple TV+) Based on GfK SVOD Survey that shows that 26% of Netflix subscribers, 54% of Discovery+ subscribers, 29% of Disney+ subscribers, 29% of Max subscribers, 61% of Hulu subscribers, 54% of Paramount+ subscribers, 72% of Peacock subscribers, and 100% of Amazon Prime Video subscribers that can see ads.
  • Applying these assumptions, we developed a total viewing pie of platforms/tiers that have advertising, which included linear TV, AVOD and SVOD with tiered subscriptions. The result indicated linear TV represents 70% of total day of the ad-viewing platforms, a far cry from a pie including all viewing whether advertisers can avail themselves of it or not, showing linear TV at 55%.
Source: Nielsen NPOWER May 2024 Persons 18+ Live+7. Total Day of Platforms With Advertising Base: Ad-Supported Linear TV & Nielsen Streaming Platform Ratings (With and Without Ads: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Discovery+, HBO Max, Peacock, Netflix, Disney+); Based on GfK SVOD Survey that shows that 26% of Netflix subscribers, 54% of Discovery+ subscribers, 29% of Disney+ subscribers, 29% of Max subscribers, 61% of Hulu subscribers, 54% of Paramount+ subscribers, 72% of Peacock subscribers, and 100% of Amazon Prime Video subscribers that can see ads. MVPD/vMVPD category is included in Linear bucket.
  • Ad-free platforms are useless to advertisers. They need to know the platforms/subscribers available to them who can view advertising, so they can make informed marketing choices. Nielsen’s Gauge Report doesn’t tell the whole story. Linear TV’s share of what advertisers can buy is 70%. Plan on it!
Source: Nielsen NPOWER May 2024 Persons 18+ Live+7. Total Day of Platforms With Advertising Base: Ad-Supported Linear TV & Nielsen Streaming Platform Ratings (With and Without Ads: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Discovery+, HBO Max, Peacock, Netflix, Disney+); Based on GfK SVOD Survey that shows that 26% of Netflix subscribers, 54% of Discovery+ subscribers, 29% of Disney+ subscribers, 29% of Max subscribers, 61% of Hulu subscribers, 54% of Paramount+ subscribers, 72% of Peacock subscribers, and 100% of Amazon Prime Video subscribers that can see ads. MVPD/vMVPD category is included in Linear bucket.


For more information, please contact Hadassa Gerber, Chief Research Officer, TVB