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Nielsen TV Ratings Now Count Same-Sex Couples

Nielsen TV Ratings Now Count Same-Sex Couples

The data measurement company just got more inclusive of LGBTQ people.


LGBTQ folks may not be included in the U.S. Census -- but they will now be counted by Nielsen Holdings.

The data measurement company, which measures audiences for television shows and other forms of media, will take steps to recognize households with same-sex partners in its National TV panel.

To this end, Nielsen has partnered with GLAAD, an LGBTQ media organization, to determine the best ways and means to identify these households and therefore better represent this historically marginalized community.

"As the media marketplace continues to evolve, our clients are increasingly looking to better understand consumers of all types to effectively reach new and unique audiences," said Brian Fuhrer, senior vice president of product leadership at Nielsen, in a statement sent to press. "This translates directly into why diversity and inclusion is a business imperative for Nielsen and why we will continue to invest in ways to ensure our world-class TV panel reflects the true diversity of the consumer landscape."

"This enhancement will help both programmers and marketers gain LGBTQ audience insights and provide the industry with better understand the compelling opportunity these consumers represent," he said.

The ratings determined by Nielsen are an invaluable tool for marketers and network executives, who use this data to determine viewing behavior. Thus, more LGBTQ viewers counted in these ratings may translate to a more representative media landscape.

Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD, praised the move by Nielsen.

"We are at the highest levels ever reported for LGBTQ inclusion on television, and it's important that we know American audiences are connecting with these characters and shows," she said. "We appreciate Nielsen's commitment to ensuring that LGBTQ people wherever they live and consume television are being counted - and that those numbers are being reported. GLAAD is proud to work alongside them as they continue to expand and enhance their capabilities."

GLAAD's Where We Are on TV report, released Thursday, did indeed reflect record-high queer representation on broadcast, cable, and streaming television. This representation is intersectional; for the first time, there are more LBGTQ characters of color than LGBT white characters on TV, GLAAD found.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.