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Nielsen TV ratings to start counting out-of-home viewers


Nielsen’s TV viewership ratings will count viewers at bars, airports and other out-of-home venues beginning in fall 2020, the data firm said.

The shift to include out-of-home measurements in its national TV ratings will offer a boost to sports and news programs, Nielsen predicted, and offer a fuller picture of viewing patterns.

The prestigious but weatherworn TV measurement has come under fire in recent years from critics who have said it’s been slow to adapt to changes in viewership patterns.

“Nielsen’s goal has always been to provide its clients and the marketplace we serve with the most accurate and comprehensive set of data available," Scott Brown, Nielsen’s head of TV and audio products, said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “With the inclusion of [out-of-home], the industry will have a more complete view of audiences, regardless of where they tune in to content.”

The change could give an 11% boost to some sports networks, Brown said. News networks pull an average of 7% of their audience from screens outside of the home, he added.