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Nielsen Decides that Streaming Viewers Count, Too

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In a highly anticipated move, ratings giant Nielsen confirmed Thursday that it would begin surveying homes that watched video on connected TVs. In the future, it plans to count video streamed to tablets and other mobile devices, as well.

The move is a long time coming, and it's an acknowledgment of how mainstream streaming video has become. While the change will measure viewing time for online services like Netflix or Hulu, it won't include them in ratings since their signals aren't encoded for Nielsen monitoring, and they either don't show ads or show different ads than standard television broadcasts.

On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Nielsen would equip 23,000 homes with hardware capable of monitoring streaming in time for the fall TV season.

In a similar move, YouTube announced that it's partnering with Billboard and Nielsen to include U.S. viewing information in Billboards Hot 100 list, as well as Billboard rankings for country, R&B/hip-hop, R&B, rap, Latin, rock, and dance/electronic music. The rankings will count official and authorized music videos on YouTube.

Thanks to the change, which recognizes the importance of online plays for the success of a song, "Harlem Shake" by Baauer debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week.

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