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And the Emmy Goes To… Nielsen!

2 minute read | September 2015

Nielsen wins 2015 Emmy for watermarking technology

Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to the annual Emmy race than what you see on primetime or read about in the tabloids. In fact, Emmys are awarded for creative arts and engineering as well as for television programming. For Nielsen, the Emmy’s scope is a blessing, as noted by our recent win for steganographic technologies—something that would have been far more challenging if we were competing against the zombie apocalypse, sneaky political fixers and modern families in suburbia.

So just what is steganographic technology and why is it so important? Steganography dates back hundreds of years and refers to hidden data within normal communication. It’s basically the art of placing imperceptible identification information within modern day electronic media. Watermarking is a part of this technology and refers to inserting imperceptible identifiers within an audio stream.

While Nielsen’s audience measurement technology isn’t new, our new NAES VI watermark technology—which won the Emmy—represents a significant improvement in that it survives Internet compression. It’s also robust and microphone detectable, making it rugged and durable for the digital age and for new generations of smaller measurement devices. That’s because it’s unparalleled in its ability to monitor everything from traditional TV viewing to Internet viewing to commercials to public service announcements.

Nielsen has been in the encoding business for years, dating all the way back to 1977. In fact, we’ve been in it long enough to have earned two Emmys before now, both back in 2009, for broadcast audience measurement technology. Today, Nielsen’s watermarking technology is world class, unique and pervasive in carrying vital identification information in audio transmissions within television programming. A digital watermark is an identifier that gets embedded into the audio portion of the signal. In this case, audio, watermarking allows us to measure audiences and content distribution across linear and digital environments, including mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

So while we won’t have the opportunity to walk the red carpet alongside the likes of Anthony Anderson, Kevin Spacey or Edie Falco, we do get the honor of picking up our third Emmy at the Bellagio in Las Vegas during an equally star-studded event on Jan. 8, 2016.