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Lionsgate, Nielsen partner to bring linear-style audience measurement to FAST

Jim Packer (left) and Amilcar Perez

The free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) business is continuing to mature with news that Hollywood studio Lionsgate and US-based audience insights firm Nielsen are partnering to bring traditional linear measurement to the sector.

Under the partnership, which the companies described as an “industry first,” Lionsgate-owned MovieSphere will become the first FAST channel to be measured by Nielsen, using the same metrics used by traditional TV ad buyers.

Lionsgate said the move will allow it to gain more detailed demographic information on MovieSphere viewers, which it said would allow it to better understand the audience and make more “informed” content decisions.

As it stands, MovieSphere is available on 18 streaming platforms, including Pluto TV, Samsung and Roku, with more to be added before the end of the year.

It carries blockbusters and indie films from the Lionsgate catalogue, including Dirty Grandpa, Paddington, Hacksaw Ridge, Inglourious Basterds, Dirty Dancing and Booksmart. According to Lionsgate, MovieSphere’s viewership grew by 87% between the first quarters of 2023 and 2024.

“With approximately 123 average minutes watched per viewer in its first month of measurement using this tool, MovieSphere is comparable with leading basic cable networks, according to data provided by Nielsen,” Lionsgate said.

“By bringing proven linear TV metrics to the FAST space, Nielsen is providing us with a valuable and innovative tool to benchmark performance, evaluate what’s working and respond quickly to our audiences,” said Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide television distribution.

“This is potentially a very significant development where our team can leverage viewer reach, duration, frequency, concentration and other audience indicators to help us shape our branded, general entertainment channels to better return value for our partners.”

Nielsen’s chief revenue officer, Amilcar Perez, said the company wants to bring “more clarity and efficiency to FAST players.”

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