Nielsen's proposed new approach to determining viewership for Amazon's Thursday Night Football is frustrating executives at other networks. At one network, the executive in charge of the sports operation has sounded off.
Via Richard Deitsch of TheAthletic.com, CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus shared his views on the issue during a Tuesday conference call.
"A fair and accurate audience measurement across all platforms, as you know, is absolutely vital to our industry," McManus said. "Anything that is not impartial and unbiased is unacceptable to us. I must say that we think it's extremely odd and unfortunate that different rules are suddenly applying to one platform. I'll leave it at that statement."
Last year, Amazon's internal numbers were 18 percent higher than the ratings calculated by Nielsen. This year, Nielsen will use data from Amazon in crafting the numbers, and the numbers will be higher.
Nielsen has offered to do the same thing for the streaming services maintained by other networks. Other networks have suggested that the offer is hollow and meaningless, with no specific steps identified on how to go about doing it. Nielsen has dismissed that concern as "silly."
The NFL's support of the new approach makes the situation more intriguing, since it pits the league against multiple broadcast partners on this issue. From the NFL's perspective, however, the goal is obvious — keep the streaming numbers as high as possible, so that NFL games will be as valuable as possible when it's time to put the packages out for bidding, again.