To Each Their Own Ad: Nielsen and the Addressable Future of Linear TV

Jennifer Hessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Few companies have emblematized the perplexed ontology of television’s internet-convergence as well as Nielsen has. Throughout the last two decades, Nielsen’s corporate identity has occupied a disjunctive space between broadcasting’s legacy and the aggregative, big data logics of the digital landscape. All in all, throughout the past decade—partly due to the uncertain future of television itself—Nielsen’s identity has been decidedly incohesive. But following David Kenny’s recent promotion to CEO, and after undergoing months of strategic review, Nielsen hit the convention circuit this past spring with a new corporate mission—to be the industry’s “single source of media truth”—that foregrounds their move to entirely cloud-based software; their innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning; and perhaps most centrally, a more cohesive vision for how these innovations will converge with their legacy broadcast roots through a number of specific initiatives. A top priority is the initiative to incorporate addressable advertising into linear broadcasting, ultimately moving toward 100% addressability across all connected-TV. In simple terms, addressability is the ability to air different ads in the same ad spot to different viewers/households, targeted uniquely to each viewers’ identities and consumer habits (or, rather, to what their stored data indicates about their identities and habits).
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


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