Straight To View: Nielsen Begins Tracking Premium Theatrical Films Being Distributed On Streaming Platforms

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New service gives industry a wide array of consumer data and actionable insights for this new form of distribution accelerated and influenced by COVID-19

Nielsen announced that it is launching its Theatrical Video On-Demand (TVOD) measurement service as a way to capture viewing to movie releases that are directly available to consumers to rent or purchase on demand through streaming/MVPD platforms.

Often offered at premium pricing, this rapidly expanding distribution model of film releases was accelerated by COVID-19 early in 2020 as content creators, such as studios, sought to offset disruption caused by social distancing mandates that temporarily closed movie theaters across the U.S.

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The evolution of theatrical distribution, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has introduced a new opportunity for both consumers and content owners by delivering theatrical releases directly to viewers in the comfort of their own homes. As a result, the entire media food chain, from studios to talent, have a need to analyze the volume and reach of their audiences by detailed household and person’s characteristics, such as age and gender, ethnicity or even territory.

Nielsen’s TVOD measurement service will help clients uncover how many people are streaming this type of valuable content in relation to other content options. Additionally, it will deliver detailed demographic and behavioral information beyond what the standard box office metrics, transactional rental or purchase information often provides, allowing for crucial audience-driven decisions in regard to licensing and promotion.

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The past year, underpinned by COVID-19 related uncertainty, has changed consumer behavior, driving a rise in streaming consumption. In fact, streaming now accounts for nearly a quarter (23%) of total usage among OTT capable homes, up from 21% just a year prior, and a much broader swath of consumers have enabled streaming capabilities, presenting a new opportunity to deliver this form of entertainment directly.

“As this unprecedented pandemic continues to influence consumer behavior, perhaps even through a prolonged state of recovery waves, being able to measure and help clients appropriately monetize new revenue streams has never been more crucial,” said Scott N. Brown, GM Audience Measurement, Nielsen. “A bigger question might be what will audiences do following any recovery, how the behavior adopted during stay-at-home orders might influence habits when consumers have the ability to go back to theaters to enjoy that experience and how content creators will leverage data to make the best decisions regarding distribution platforms in the future.”

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