Nielsen Media Research

Nielsen Media Research (NMR) is an American firm that measures media audiences, including television, radio, theatre, films (via the AMC Theatres MAP program), and newspapers. NMR, headquartered in New York City, is best known for the Nielsen ratings, an audience measurement system of television viewership that for years has been the deciding factor in canceling or renewing television shows by television networks. As of May 2012, it is part of Nielsen Holdings.

Nielsen Media Research
IndustryMedia research
Founded1996; 26 years ago (1996)
Headquarters85 Broad Street,
New York City, New York
Area served
ParentNielsen Holdings


Nielsen Media Research, once one of the largest media research companies in the world, began as a division of ACNielsen, a marketing research firm. In 1996, Nielsen Media Research was split off into an independent company and in 1999, was purchased by the Dutch conglomerate VNU. In 2001, VNU also purchased ACNielsen, thereby bringing both companies under the same corporate umbrella.[1] VNU was reorganized and renamed the Nielsen Company in 2007.

The Nielsen TV Ratings have been produced in the USA since the 1950–1951 television season and statistically measure which programs are watched by different segments of the population. The most well-known portion is the "diary". During the four "sweeps" months of February, May, July and November, Nielsen interviewers in Oldsmar, Florida and Radcliff, Kentucky, ask homes to participate in filling out a diary of the programs watched in their home for a one-week period.[citation needed]

The Nielsen sample included roughly 1,700 audiometer homes and a rotating board of nearly 850 diary respondents by the early 1980s. Nielsen launched its Nielsen Homevideo Index (NHI) in 1980 to measure cable, pay cable, and VCRs, and the NHI began offering daily cable ratings in 1982. Nielsen's continued to advance with steady changes into the mid 2000s (decade). Along with changing their counting methods, Nielsen also started emphasizing their sample in 2003 in reaction to census shifts and requests from some industry sectors. Nielsen's automated Local People Meter (LPM) technology was introduced in New York and Los Angeles. The LPM improved the method of measurement from active and diary-based to passive and meter-monitored. More importantly, the LPM provides accurate measurements to particular local markets, verse a nationwide sample from the People meter. While diary-based surveys concentrated on quarterly sweeps periods, the industry has been pushed toward year-round measurement, due to the automated LPM system.

In 1996 Nielsen Media Research began tracking computer, internet, and video game usage through telephone surveys.[2] Nielsen Media Research is a sister company to Nielsen NetRatings, which measures Internet and digital media audiences through a telephone and internet survey, and Nielsen BuzzMetrics, which measures Consumer-Generated Media. Nielsen also conducts market research for the film industry through National Research Group (NRG).

In September 2018, Nielsen acquired SuperData Research, an industry analysis firm that deals with tracking viewing habits within the video game and eSports areas, an area that Nielsen plans to expand into.[3] Later, in April 2021, Nielsen stated they will close down SuperData and move its analysis and tracking into Nielsen Sports.[4]

In September 2020, Nielsen started compiling a weekly Top 10 list of most watched shows on streaming platforms.[5]

Corporate affairsEdit

Nielsen has its headquarters in Lower Manhattan, New York City.[6][7]

The company maintains an office in Oldsmar, Florida. Most of the employees of Nielsen Media Research work in Oldsmar, and the company's media measurement work originates from the office. The Associated Press said that the Oldsmar building, with a cost figure of $80 million, was "its so-called nerve center."

Initial public offeringEdit

Nielsen went in for an IPO (NYSENLSN) in January 2011 and was the largest public offer in the United States in the previous four years. Being the largest IPO for a firm backed by private equity at $1.64 billion, the IPO was well received and closely watched by all big banks and private equity boutiques[8] ]

Nielsen SVOD content ratingsEdit

Starting in September 2020, Nielsen releases a weekly list of top 10 television shows most watched on streaming platforms, or subscription video on demand (SVOD).[9]

This immediately attracted attention by mainstream media, such as Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Deadline and Business Insider.[10][11][12][13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ FABRIKANT, GERALDINE (August 13, 2011). "Big Makeover for Dutch Media Data Company". The New York Times. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  2. ^ "Tidbits...". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (82): 20. May 1996.
  3. ^ Grubb, Jeff (September 5, 2018). "Nielsen acquires SuperData Research to better track digital games and esports". Venture Beat. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  4. ^ Dealessandri, Marie (April 1, 2021). "Nielsen to close down SuperData". Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  5. ^ "Nielsen launches weekly top 10 list of most popular shows on streaming platforms". Los Angeles Times. September 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "Univision sues over Nielsen's meters." Associated Press at the St. Petersburg Times. June 11, 2004. Retrieved on August 28, 2011.
  7. ^ "Contact Us Archived 2011-08-29 at the Wayback Machine." Nielsen Holdings. Retrieved on August 28, 2011. "The Nielsen Company, 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003-9595"
  8. ^ Cowan, Lynn (January 26, 2011). "Nielsen, Demand Media Jump on Debut". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  9. ^ Nunan, Tom. "Nielsen Announces Top 10 Streaming Winners With Big Surprises". Forbes.
  10. ^ "'The Boys' Stays in Nielsen's Streaming Top 10". The Hollywood Reporter. October 8, 2020.
  11. ^ Thorne, Will (November 5, 2020). "'Haunting of Bly Manor' and 'Emily in Paris' Hit Nielsen's Streaming Top 10 List".
  12. ^ Hayes, Dade (October 22, 2020). "'Ratched', 'Enola Holmes' Top Nielsen Streaming List, With 'Schitt's Creek' Cracking Top 10". Deadline.
  13. ^ Clark, Travis. "Nielsen now measures Disney Plus and Hulu in its weekly ranking of top streaming TV shows and movies. But the list is still dominated entirely by Netflix". Business Insider.
General sources
  • Lotz, Amanda D. "The Television Will Be Revolutionized". New York University Press.
  • Stoddard Jr., Laurence R. "The History of People Meters: How We Got There (And Why)". United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press.

External linksEdit