TV-ratings service Nielsen has finally launched an effort to measure whether iPad TV viewing applications have any effect on traditional TV ratings. Multichannel News said the effort involves Time Warner Cable (NYS: TWC) and Cablevision Systems (NYS: CVC) , which have seen their iPad TV viewing apps already downloaded more than 600,000 and 200,000 times, respectively.
While the Nielsen assessment involves two of the most prominent cable TV operators -- as well as two programmers, according to the article -- it could have major implications for all service providers. Telcos such as Verizon (NYS: VZ) already have been dabbling in their own tablet TV applications, but many service providers may still be hesitant to go much further with the apps because of fears related to how their existing customer viewing behaviors will be affected.
Those fears also have been felt by programmers, some of which are concerned about traditional TV ratings being affected. Some also already have protested the TWC and Cablevision iPad apps because they felt the apps violated existing programming distribution licenses. Viacom (NYS: VIA) recently sued both companies, though it has settled its dispute with Cablevision.
The results of the new Nielsen effort could open the floodgates for more similar service provider applications. However, it also could stall them, as well as the service-provider movement toward creating a multiscreen universe for consumers.
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