Later this month Verizon will be launching 26 channels of live streaming cable content through the Xbox Live dashboard for users of its FiOS TV service, a brand new way to watch cable made possible in part by the support of North America's ancient television audience measurement system.
Measuring television audience size since the 1950s, the Nielsen rating system remains one of the most powerful forces in TV entertainment to this day. How powerful? So much so that had the ratings company not had the ability to gather viewership metrics for the Xbox 360's FiOS application, it might not have happened.
In gathering channels to bundle together for the Xbox version of its service, Verizon found that Neilson ratings measurement capability was crucial in gaining the support of Viacom, the company behind MTV, BET, Spike TV, and more. Though the company had previously turned away offers for non-measurable tablet applications, the Nielsen-ready Xbox was an easy fit.
"Verizon FiOS approached us in advance to discuss this new opportunity for Xbox Live consumers," Joseph Molko, senior vice president of content distribution and marketing for Viacom Media Networks, said in a statement. "We're open to distributing our content on this platform as the programming is Nielsen-rated and we'll be able to monetize viewing through ad sales."
Nielsen has been gathering game playing information from rating-device equipped homes for the past few years, paving the way for cable network collaborations like Verizon and Microsoft's.
Nielsen To Rate FiOS TV On Xbox [Multichannel News]