Nielsen, a name synonymous with TV ratings for as long as anyone can remember, knows the world is changing: For the 2014-15 TV season, Nielsen will incorporate data on "audiences viewing TV content on digital devices" and will release a software development kit (SDK) in mid-November so content providers can add Nielsen-related measurements to their apps. This means that starting next year, if you watch TV on the Internet using a laptop, smartphone, or tablet, your viewing stats may influence TV ratings.
Nielsen knows the TV industry itself seems to be dragging its heels in terms of digital TV, so the new SDK can support "both the linear (TV style) and dynamic (Internet style) ad models." This means that with one shot, Nielsen can measure viewing of content "across screens and ad models." Essentially this means that if a TV show is broadcast on the web with a model that looks like traditional TV, viewing figures will affect traditional TV ratings--and if it's shown in a more Internet-like model (for example, if it has digital ads), viewing figures will affect the digital TV rating.
[Image: Flickr user Tom Godber]