The effort is still in “an R&D stage,” Matt O’Grady, Nielsen’s executive vice president of media audience measurement, cautioned. “Right now, iPad streaming is not having an impact on ratings,” O’Grady said. “But we’re taking [the project] dead seriously because our clients need to know what the viewing is on tablet and smart phone platforms.” Progress in measuring iPad viewership could help the two cable operators make peace with Viacom, which sued the two firms in April for breach of contract, in part over its Comedy Central and MTV content going out via the apps. Programmers say the apps violate their current distribution deals; the operators say they fall within their carriage deals. This is of tremendous significance because Viacom relies on Nielsen ratings to sell advertising time on its networks, and the greater the audience size, the greater the market value of the advertising time,” Viacom said in the original suit. “In June, the Viacom suspended the litigation with Cablevision in hopes of reaching an out-of-court compromise — which was reached and announced last week. TWC’s most recent numbers indicate its iPad has has been downloaded more than 600,000 times since its release in March. Cablevision’s Optimum App for iPad has been downloaded 200,000 times since bowing in April, according to the company.
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