TV and Neilsen no longer BFF’s.

Execs and producers of major networks are nearing a disastrous conclusion for Neilsen. Neilsen has been the primary provider of viewership statistics for television for decades, aiding the market in determining property pricing and gauging the success of TV marketing.

According to many, it seems the gauge Neilsen is providing is obsolete and inaccurate; “We know there is more consumption, but the measurement isn’t there to back it up,” Iger said. The problem, he explained, is that the data available — Nielsen ratings — can’t be combined with ratings of digital and mobile viewership, so there’s no way to publish a cumulative number and get paid based on it. Advertisers aren’t necessarily enthusiastic about having a cumulative number, by the way, as in, is an ad delivered on phone worth as much as an ad delivered on a TV screen?”

The door remains open just a crack for a new tracking and measurement tool to be introduced. Google? Apple? Anyone?

Neilsen, it seems, was undone by Netflix. Non-advertising revenue became a truly viable business strategy in a massive way with Netflix and consumers could not have been happier. No commercials? Hell yes. And with a simple HDMI cord, TV has become Project Free and Neilsen was unprepared.

Since then the gap has only widened while Neilsen plays catchup. Brands are adopting business plans that focus less on traditional advertising and gaining substantial revenue nevertheless. Focusing advertising budgets on digital media that can be accurately measured and ambient campaigns that gain virality is doing what TV simply no longer can for brands: a measurable impact.

It is also making for better, more strategic and insightful work from the industry.

I am an enormous fan of TV as a media. From the combined perspective of a TV-watcher and a student of advertising, I get everything I want from television. As I move toward the industry however, I see value and progress is the digression from the medium entirely.

Of course with the ‘death’ of any media another will always appear. Here’s hoping for holograms!