It’s been a long time coming, but the Nielsen ratings are finally catching up to Barack Obama’s first term in office. According to The Wall Street Journal, the ratings system is finally some months into a new program allowing it to track streaming data from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Supposedly, the company is now acquiring data on upwards of 1,000 shows—and not just how many people are watching, but demographic breakdowns of age and gender.
It’s a step in the right direction for a process that has been criticized as wildly outdated and inaccurate when it comes to the actual numbers of people watching shows. It’s a process Nielsen used to defend with the solid argument that the kinds of people who can still be convinced to scribble notes in a diary about what television shows they’ve been watching, then mail that diary to a faceless corporation, are definitely the kinds of people who should be dictating what’s on TV. But with its new data, the company hopes to help studios like NBCUniversal and Twentieth Century Fox get a better idea of how streaming is affecting their revenues, with an eye to charging streaming sites more for popular shows.
Unfortunately, the data is still fairly limited. It doesn’t include overseas numbers or streams from mobile devices, the latter being the only platform your nieces and nephews have ever used to watch a show. Netflix has used those limits to argue that Nielsen’s numbers will be meaningless, given the amount of subscribers around the world who watch its content on mobile devices. Nonetheless, it gets us a little closer to finding out if everyone else in America is also watching King Of The Nerds, or if that’s just us.