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Nielsen Announces “Impressions First Initiative” and the Integration of Broadband Only Homes Into Local Measurement in January 2022

5 minute read | September 2021

Timing Supports Industrywide Move to Impressions-based Buying

New York, NY — Sept 21, 2021 Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) announced today that it will take the lead on an “Impressions First Initiative” to support an industrywide move to impressions-based buying and selling in local markets across the U.S.  The move to impressions will occur in conjunction with the integration of broadband only (BBO) homes into Nielsen’s local measurement metrics in January 2022. The move to an impressions-based currency will deliver a more complete, precise and representative audience measurement, along with the added benefit of enabling cross-platform audience measurement. In today’s fragmented media landscape, the move to impressions lays the groundwork for implementing Nielsen ONE across local, national and digital measurement.

The inclusion of BBO homes will enable the industry to rapidly transition to trading on impressions. Impressions represent all viewers regardless of platform—which is especially important given the significant and growing penetration of BBO homes in local markets. For more than two years, Nielsen has been working with the media and advertising industries in preparation for the inclusion of BBO homes in local TV measurement for its 56 LPM and set meter markets.

“Nielsen is committed to measuring all audiences and the complete video consumption across the local marketplace,” said David Kenny, CEO of Nielsen. “Impressions are the great equalizer across all screens, programs, listeners and viewers. Nielsen’s move to prioritize reporting impressions will help standardize the way it measures ads and content, enabling greater comparability across national, local and digital and is in line with Nielsen’s initiative to drive comparable metrics which are foundational to Nielsen ONE.”

Nexstar Media Group Inc., the country’s largest local broadcasting group, fully supports the move to impressions-based measurement:

“We believe the move to impressions and the integration of BBO homes into local measurement metrics is critical to making sure that every viewer is counted,” said Perry Sook, Chairman and CEO, Nexstar Media Group Inc. “It also enables buyers and sellers to make comparisons across all video across platforms, gives them the most complete view of audience consumption and behavior, and facilitates automated buying.” 

“Broadcasters have known for years that our content is being viewed inside and outside the home on many devices and services,” said Jordan Wertlieb, president of Hearst Television. “This move to impression-focused selling is something that will not only allow the most-watched content to get the full credit it deserves, but will also allow our clients to truly see the unique value proposition we offer:  the best environment with the largest reach.”

“Agencies and advertisers are eager for Nielsen to incorporate BBO homes into local TV samples beginning January 2022,” said Bernie Shimkus, VP, Director of Research & Consumer Insights, Harmelin Media. “Over the years, the number of BBO homes has more than tripled in the U.S. from about 3% in 2015 and now accounts for at least 20% of local TV homes today. The inclusion of BBO homes is essential to local TV measurement and will also facilitate the move to impressions-based buying of local TV.”

“As a leader in the transition to impression-based investment for local over the past six years, we at MAGNA Global support and appreciate Nielsen’s prioritization of reporting on impressions,” said Kathy Doyle, EVP, Managing Director, Local Investment, MAGNA Global. “In moving forward to a more data informed approach whereby we target more representative and inclusive audiences, impressions are absolutely the core building block that we must start with as an industry.”

Concurrent with Nielsen’s support of an industry-wide move from ratings to impressions in January 2022, Nielsen will default its local reporting settings to impressions in its software systems (Arianna, NLTV, eVip) and will lead with impressions in all of its external communications. Ratings will remain available to end-users for planning purposes. 

“Nexstar’s sales teams have been working toward the transition to selling impressions in coordination with a number of our largest clients, as it is the best way to make sure that no viewer goes uncounted,” said Andrew Alford, President of Broadcasting for Nexstar Media Inc. “We expect to be transacting on impressions exclusively in early 2022, so Nielsen’s decision to implement an impressions-based measurement metric at the same time is a very welcome development.”

Nielsen, which had previously announced a BBO implementation date of October 2021, made the final decision to begin implementation in January 2022 in response to industry requests. The new timing will enable Nielsen to publish an official BBO UE that will be audited and reviewed by the Media Rating Council (MRC). In addition to delivering one month of impact data, a January implementation will include all BBO homes. Adding BBO homes will increase reporting sample sizes significantly and capture impressions that may be missing, especially for sports and over-the-top (OTT) content.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a leading global data and analytics company that provides a holistic and objective understanding of the media industry. With offerings spanning audience measurement, audience outcomes and content, Nielsen offers its clients and partners simple solutions to complex questions and optimizes the value of their investments and growth strategies. It is the only company that can offer de-duplicated cross-media audience measurement. Audience is EverythingTM to Nielsen and its clients, and Nielsen is committed to ensuring that every voice counts.

An S&P 500 company, Nielsen offers measurement and analytics service in nearly 60 countries. Learn more at or and connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.



Dawn Rowan