The company officially calls it Theatrical Video On-Demand, or TVOD, but the rankings will encompass PVOD titles that have had to skip or curtail theatrical runs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Universal’s Trolls World Tour was an early PVOD trailblazer, and dozens more releases have followed in subsequent months, with the release pattern likely outlast Covid-19. In some cases, as with holiday animated title Croods 2: New Age, a short theatrical run has been set with a PVOD date already established.
The new measurement tool also will be able to track titles like Mulan, which was made available for an extra charge to subscribers to Disney+, a new twist on the on-demand model that Disney dubs Premier Access. Movies included at no extra charge for subscribers are not part of the new offering, but are measured by Nielsen as part of its U.S. streaming rankings.
Details about how frequently or publicly Nielsen will release the PVOD numbers were not spelled out in the announcement. As the traditional media ecosystem has undergone dramatic change, Nielsen has been trying to evolve its offerings and expand beyond linear viewing. Last summer, it added U.S. streaming rankings spanning Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ and is expected to expand that list to include HBO Max, Peacock and other new entities down the road. In tandem with the PVOD news, Nielsen released its streaming rankings for all of 2020.
Up until this point, visibility on PVOD viewing has been somewhat limited, though information on transactions and rentals is shared through some channels.
The Covid-19-prompted shifts in consumption and release patterns means “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 said.
Streaming now accounts for about 24% of total TV usage in homes equipped for OTT, Nielsen said, up from 21% a year ago.
“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.”