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The Key to Unlocking the Future of Media Measurement? Flexibility
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The Key to Unlocking the Future of Media Measurement? Flexibility

Audiences today are consuming content in more ways than ever before—and they’re consuming more of it. In fact, in the first quarter of this year, the average American 18 or older spent more than 11 hours daily with media across devices and platforms. That’s up more than an hour from just two years ago!

This is good news for content creators and advertisers. But the number of devices available to consumers—as well as the amount of content they encourage access to—can pose challenges for marketers seeking to engage with eyeballs across every new device and content source.

To help the industry do just that, we developed the Nielsen Total Audience framework, a powerful system that measures engagement across screens, broadly and comprehensively. And through our measurements, we’ve found that age, race/ethnicity, gender and income can all influence how we watch, listen and read content.

The task of finding consumers across all these spaces can seem daunting. However, in the more than four years I’ve spent working on our total audience framework, I’ve found that flexibility is the key to cross-platform measurement. The time spent, devices used, even the genres of programming consumed and the times when they’re consumed can all vary across demographics.

For example, people often watch sports games at bars and restaurants, making out-of-home measurement especially valuable for networks with this type of programming. Meanwhile, our research shows that comedy programming remains highly engaging with consumers 30 and even 60 days after it airs, so time-shifted viewing can provide advertisers opportunities to reach key target demographics well after programming originally airs.

With each new device and distribution channel we add to Nielsen Total Audience, publishers can further demonstrate the breadth of their audience while advertisers gain valuable data for more informed decision making. At the same time, however, we’ve focused on making these measurements comparable—and flexible. Providing a consistent and transparent view ensures a level playing field with access to the same information across content creators, advertisers and platforms.

Just four years ago, the media landscape was dramatically different than it is today. The one thing I can be sure about the next few years is that the media space will continue to evolve—and likely very quickly. But by preparing for the future with measurement that’s comprehensive and flexible, the media industry will be ready for each new way audiences find to watch, listen and view content.

This article originally appeared on AW360.