DTVR Android SDK

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Overview

The Nielsen SDK is one of multiple framework SDKs that Nielsen provides to enable measuring linear (live) and on-demand TV viewing using TVs, mobile devices, etc. The App SDK is the framework for mobile application developers to integrate Nielsen Measurement into their media player applications. It supports a variety of Nielsen Measurement Products like Digital in TV Ratings, Digital Content Ratings (DCR & DTVR), Digital Ad Ratings (DAR), and Digital Audio. Nielsen SDKs are also equipped to measure static content and can track key life cycle events of an application like:

  • Application launch events and how long app was running
  • Time of viewing a sub section / page in the application.

If the content being played contains ID3 tags, when played on a mobile device or within a browser, these tags can be sent to Nielsen for collection/processing via the Nielsen SDK.

VOD in TV Ratings (formally knows as Recently Telecast VOD) support is now available; however, you must notify your Nielsen Technical Account Manager to ensure accurate reporting.

Prerequisites

To start using the App SDK, the following details are required:

  • App ID (appid): Unique ID assigned to the player/site and configured by product.
  • sfcode: Unique identifier for the environment that the SDK should point to.
  • Nielsen SDK: The Nielsen SDK package contains a variety of sample players for your reference.

If you do not have any of these prerequisites or if you have any questions, please contact our SDK sales support team. Refer to Digital Measurement Onboarding guide for information on how to get a Nielsen App SDK and appid.

Implementation

This guide covers implementation steps for iOS using Android Studio utilizing the Standard Nielsen SDK for DTVR.

How to obtain the NielsenAppApi

The Nielsen AppSDK can either be downloaded directly or can be integrated directly within an application through the use of a CocoaPod or Gradle.

Setting up your Development Environment

Configuring Android Development Environment

  • The Nielsen App SDK (located in the Downloads section of the website) class is the primary application interface to the Nielsen App SDK on Android.
  • The Nielsen App SDK class is defined as the only public class belonging to the com.nielsen.app.sdk package.

Nielsen App SDK is compatible with Android OS versions 2.3+. Clients can control / configure the protocol to be used – HTTPS or HTTP to suit their needs.

The requirement for the Java AppSdk.jar library and the libAppSdk.so native library will depend on the type of host application that will make use of them.

  • For Video player applications
    • The Android OS hosting the App SDK should use a media player supporting HLS streaming (Android 3.0 and later will support it natively).
    • If the player application uses a 3rd party media player implementing its own HLS, then the minimum Android version will be limited to version 2.3, since the SDK depends on Google Play support to work properly.
  • For Audio player applications
    • The Android OS hosting the App SDK should be at version 2.3 and later since the SDK depends on the Google Play support to work properly.

Once SDK is downloaded ensure to unzip the Nielsen SDK and copy the AppSdk.jar in your app (Android Studio) libs folder, then right click the AppSdk.jar and select Add As Library. Ensure the AppSdk.jar file is added in 'build.grade (App Level) file.

  • App SDK 1.2 provides support for x86, mips, and armeabi-7a architecture.

Google Play Services

Add the Google Play Services in the project, Steps: Android Studio -> File -> Project Structure ->(In module selection) select App -> Dependencies (tab) -> Click “+” button and select “com.google.android.gms:play-services”. Ensure it is added in build.gradle (App level) file

Manifest File

  • Add the following permissions on the project’s AndroidManifest.xml file.
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION" android:required="false" />
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE"/>
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET"/>

For more details to handle runtime permissions in Android versions, please visit [1].

  • In AndroidManifest.xml under <application> node add the following metadata
<meta-data 
android:name="com.google.android.gms.version" 
android:value="@integer/google_play_services_version"/>
  • App SDK checks to see if there is a Google service available and updated.
  • If not available or updated, App SDK will not use this service when executing its functions and will make reference to missing imports and the app will not be compiled.

Library

Nielsen App SDK uses the following packages/classes from the Google Play service.

  • google-play-services_lib

Classes/package

  • com.google.android.gms.ads.identifier.AdvertisingIdClient;
  • com.google.android.gms.ads.identifier.AdvertisingIdClient.Info;
  • com.google.android.gms.common.ConnectionResult;
  • com.google.android.gms.common.GooglePlayServicesUtil;
  • com.google.android.gms.common.GooglePlayServicesRepairableException;
  • com.google.android.gms.common.GooglePlayServicesNotAvailableException;

SDK Initialization

The latest version of the Nielsen App SDK allows instantiating multiple instances of the SDK object, which can be used simultaneously without any issue. The sharedInstance API that creates a singleton object was deprecated prior to version 5.1.1. (Version 4.0 for Android)

  • A maximum of four SDK instances per appid are supported.
  • When four SDK instances exist, you must destroy an old instance before creating a new one.

The following table contains the list of arguments that can be passed via the AppInfo JSON schema.

  • The appid is provided by the Nielsen Technical Account Manager (TAM). The appid is a GUID data type and is specific to the application.
Parameter / Argument Description Source Required? Example
appid Unique id for the application assigned by Nielsen. It is GUID data type. Nielsen-specified Yes PXXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX
appname Name of the application Client-defined Optional; automatically detected in SDK 6.0.0.4 and above Nielsen Sample App
sfcode Nielsen collection facility to which the SDK should connect. Nielsen-specified Yes us
containerID View ID of the UI element used as player view in application for Viewability Client-defined Optional "1234567"
nol_devDebug Enables Nielsen console logging. Only required for testing Nielsen-specified Optional "DEBUG"

Debug flag for development environment

Player application developers / integrators can use Debug flag to check whether an App SDK API call made is successful. To activate the Debug flag, Pass the argument @"nol_devDebug":@"INFO", in the JSON string . The permitted values are:

  • INFO: Displays the API calls and the input data from the application (validate player name, app ID, etc.). It can be used as certification Aid.
  • WARN: Indicates potential integration / configuration errors or SDK issues.
  • ERROR: Indicates important integration errors or non-recoverable SDK issues.
  • DEBUG: Debug logs, used by the developers to debug more complex issues.

Once the flag is active, it logs each API call made and the data passed. The log created by this flag is minimal.

Note: DO NOT activate the Debug flag in a production environment.

Sample SDK Initialization Code

AppSDK() is no longer a singleton object and should be initialized as below.

Initialization of App SDK object through a JSON object

  
try
{
  // Prepare AppSdk configuration object (JSONObject)
  JSONObject appSdkConfig = new JSONObject()
          .put("appid", "PDA7D5EE6-B1B8-XXXX-XXXX-2A788BCXXXCA")
          .put("sfcode", "us")
          .put("containerID": "2131558561")
          .put("nol_devDebug", "DEBUG"); // only for debug builds

// Pass appSdkConfig to the AppSdk constructor
mAppSdk = new AppSdk(appContext, appSdkConfig, appSdkListener);
}
catch (JSONException e)
{
  Log.e(TAG, "Couldn’t prepare JSONObject for appSdkConfig", e);
}

Here, appContext is the App context object and appSdkConfig is JSON object for holding the parameters (appid, sfcode) the App passes to the Nielsen App SDK via a JSON string. The appid is obtained from Nielsen operational support and is unique to the app.


  • The integration of Nielsen App SDK will depend on type of client app.
  • Ensure that SDK files (AppSdk.jar and libAppSdk.so [App SDK 1.2 Only]) are included under the App’s project and the App SDK is linked to the App (the setting to link App SDK to the App can be found on property page of the App’s project).

APP SDK Error & Event Codes

To view the Error and Event codes for iOS and Android, please review the App SDK Event Code Reference page.

Content Metadata and SDK Events

Content Metadata

Content metadata should remain constant throughout the completion of an episode or live stream.

Key Description Values Required
channelName Any string representing the channel/stream 32-character free-form text
type type of asset "content"
adModel linear vs dynamic ad model 1 = Linear matches TV ad load
    
    //Loading Channel Info.
    public JSONObject loadChannelInfo(){
        JSONObject channel = null;
        try {
        channel = new JSONObject()
                .put("channelName", "ChannelTitle");
        } catch (JSONException e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
        return  channel;
    }

   
    public JSONObject loadDtvr() {
     try {
            dtvr = new JSONObject()
                    .put( "type","content")
                    .put("adModel", "1");
        }
        return dtvr;
    }

SDK Events

icon

Event Parameter Description
'loadMetadata' content/ad metadata object Needs to be called at the beginning of each asset to pass type, channelName, and adModel.
'play' program or feed name Call when starting or resuming a streaming session.
'sendID3' Used to send the ID3 tag payload retrieved from the stream Needs to be called at the beginning of playback
'end' Content end Call when the current video asset completes playback or when a stream is interrupted.

Example: At the end of the content stream, if the user switches to another piece of content, when the browser is refreshed or closed.

Configure API calls - play

  appSdk.play(sdkMethods.loadChannelInfo());

Configure API calls - loadMetadata

Use loadMetadata to pass ‘content’ and ‘ad’ Digital Measurement Metadata. The CMS data must be passed as a JSON object.

 appSdk.loadMetadata(data);

Configure API calls - sendID3

sendID3 API is a receiver for timed metadata events (ID3 tags) provided through iOS’s NSNotificationCenter notification system. This API filters out Nielsen-specific ID3 tags from the system and buffers the data for transfer to Nielsen’s collection facility.

 //Sending ID3 tag to SDK.
appSdk.sendID3(id3String);

Sample ID3 tags

  • www.nielsen.com/X100zdCIGeIlgZnkYj6UvQ==/X100zdCIGeIlgZnkYj6UvQ==/AAAB2Jz2_k74GXSzx4npHuI_JwJd3QSUpW30rDkGTcbHEzIMWleCzM-uvNOP9fzJcQMWQLJqzXMCAxParOb5sGijSV9dNM3QiBniJYGZ5GI-lL1fXTTN0IgZ4iWBmeRiPpS9AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAFJWFM5SVhTONNU=/00000/00000/00
  • www.nielsen.com/X100zdCIGeIlgZnkYj6UvQ==/R8WHe7pEBeqBhu8jTeXydg==/AAICoyitYqlxT7n6aZ0oMCGheFi4CXFp46AMUPZz1lMr_M9tr3_cjee1SHqxrOiVerMDLeyn9xzocZSKwi746Re8vNOtpNCAZjYABs_J0R25IHpvOc1HS8QHGgD5TgOJeS6gX100zdCIGeIlgZnkYj6UvVJWFNhSVhTiPE0=/00000/46016/00

Refer to Retrieving ID3 Tags section to know more details.

Configure API calls - stop

Call stop in case of interruptions during playback like flight mode, Wi-Fi toggle, etc. Call play when resuming the stream / starting the new stream.

[nielsenApi stop];

Configure API calls - end

Call end only at the end of playback.

[nielsenApi end];

Retrieving ID3 Tags

ID3 tags have a payload of about 249 characters and start with "www.nielsen.com".

ID3 tags are extracted by observing a property called timedMetadata on the iOS player item. Now this is done via a concept called KVO (Key Value Observing), where you register interest in a property, and the runtime will let you know when it has changed.

Both the iOS native players have the ability to extract ID3 tags, If any other player apart from iOS native players (AVPlayer, MPMoviePlayer) is used, check and ensure that the player has the capability to extract ID3 tags.

Examples of extracting ID3 tags fromAndroid Native Media Player

As the Android Media Player versions (prior to Android 6 / Android API 23) do not support ID3, Nielsen has created a library that becomes an extension to the media player, thus MPX. This library extracts the ID3 tags and sends them to the app. For more information on how to use the MPX component, refer to the Nielsen-supplied sample application.

Starting from Android 6 (Android API 23), Android Native Media Player allows apps to register a callback to be invoked, when a selected track has the timed metadata available. Currently, only HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) data URI’s embedded with timed ID3 tags generate TimedMetadata. Once the HLS video starts, call onTimedMetaDataAvailable() as and when the player observes a TimedMetadata (ID3 tag).

@Override
    public void onTimedMetaDataAvailable(MediaPlayer mediaPlayer, TimedMetaData timedMetaData) {

        if(timedMetaData != null && timedMetaData.getMetaData() != null && mMediaPlayer.isPlaying()){

            //getting metadata.
            String iD3Payload = new String(timedMetaData.getMetaData(), StandardCharsets.UTF_8);

            //If tag metadata contains "www.nielsen.com", then only sending to SDK
            if (null != iD3Payload && iD3Payload.contains("www.nielsen.com"))
            {
                //getting index
                int index = iD3Payload.indexOf("www.nielsen.com");

                //getting substring as ID3 tag will be of 249 characters
                String id3String = iD3Payload.substring(index, (index + 249));
                Log.d(TAG, "TimedMetaData ID3 Tag:" + id3String);

                //Sending ID3 tag to SDK.
                appSdk.sendID3(id3String);
            }
        }
    }

     }

Life cycle of SDK instance

Life cycle of SDK instance includes four general states:

  1. Initial state – The SDK is not initialized and hence, not ready to process playing information. Once the SDK is moved out of this state, it needs instantiation of the new SDK instance in order to get the instance in the Initial state.
  2. Idle state – The SDK is initialized and is ready to process playing information. Once Initialized, the SDK instance is not processing any data, but is listening for the play event to occur.
  3. Processing state – The SDK instance is processing playing information. The play and loadMetadata calls move the SDK instance into this state. In this state, the SDK instance will be able to process the following calls.
    1. stop – Call this API when the playback is paused, switches between content and ad (within the same content playback) or encounters interruptions.
    2. end – SDK instance exits from Processing state when this API is called.
  4. Disabled state – The SDK instance is disabled and is not processing playing information. SDK instance moves into this state in one of the following scenarios.
    1. Initialization fails
    2. appDisableApi is set to true (This is testing purposes only. Not for User Opt-Out.)
Note: For API Version 5.1 and above, App SDK will fire data pings and continue measurement even after the user has opted out from Nielsen measurement on a device. The data ping will be marked as opted-out ping.

Note: In case of any interruptions during playback due to alarm, calendar, call, flight mode, Wi-Fi toggle, channel change, etc., call </code>stop</code> to stop the measurement.

Handling Foreground and Background states

Foreground/Background state measurement is a requirement of Nielsen AppSDK implementation which is especially crucial for static measurement. It may be implemented in multiple ways for Android. This includes

  • Enable the Nielsen SDK to measure background/foreground state by makingthe relevant update to the AndroidManifest.
  • Integrate Nielsen’s SdkBgFgDetectionUtility class within your Custom Application Class.
  • Custom implementation of the required methods within your application.

ForeGround/Background Measurement via AndroidManifest

The simplest way to measure the app background/foreground state is to add the following application tag to the Manifest XML. Integrating this into the Manifest XML will enable the SDK to measure app state directly. This approach is supported for Android 4.0 and up only; it requires that the application class is not in use for some other purpose.

<application android:name="com.nielsen.app.sdk.AppSdkApplication">

Using the Android SdkBgFbDetectionUtility Class

For developers who are already using the application class, it is recommended that background/foreground state is implemented using the SdkBgFgDetectionUtility class. The SdkBgFgDetectionUtility class is compatible with Android 4+ and has been made available to Nielsen clients.

Manual Background/ForeGround State Management

In cases where the developer is not able to use the AndroidManifest.xml solution nor the Nielsen provided SdkBgFgDetectionUtility class the developer will need to manually identify the change of state through the application and call the respective API (appInForeground() or appInBackground()) to inform the SDK regarding the change of state from background to foreground or foreground to background.

The SDK is informed about app state using the below methods.

AppLaunchMeasurementManager.appInForeground(getApplicationContext());
AppLaunchMeasurementManager.appInBackground(getApplicationContext());

Within the lifecycle of individual activities, onResume() and onPause() are best suited to providing indication of the app state.


Correct measurement of the foreground/background state is crucial to Static App measurement within Nielsen Digital Content Ratings (DCR).

Interruptions during playback

As part of integrating Nielsen App SDK with the player application, the Audio / Video app developer needs to handle the following possible interruption scenarios:

  • Pause / Play
  • Network Loss (Wi-Fi / Airplane / Cellular)
  • Call Interrupt (SIM or Third party Skype / Hangout call)
  • Alarm Interrupt
  • Content Buffering
  • Device Lock / Unlock (Video players only, not for Audio players)
  • App going in the Background/Foreground (Video players only, not for Audio players)
  • Channel / Station Change Scenario
  • Unplugging of headphone

In case of encountering one of the above interruptions, the player application needs to

  • Call stop immediately (except when content is buffering) and withhold sending playhead position.
  • Call play once the playback resumes.

Pre-Certification Checklists

After the application is ready to be sent for Nielsen Certification, please go through the Digital Pre-Certification Checklist App SDK and ensure the app behaves as expected, before submitting to Nielsen.

Privacy and Opt-Out

There are two primary methods for implementing user Opt-out preferences:

  1. OS-level Opt-out - managed by Opt out of Ads Personalization setting on device (preferred approach).
  2. Legacy Opt-out - Direct call to SDK; used only for older versions of Nielsen Android SDK versions (< 5.1.1.18)

OS-level Opt-out

OS-level Opt-out method available on Nielsen Android SDK Versions 5.1.1.18 and above.

The Nielsen SDK automatically leverages the Android's Opt out of Ads Personalization setting. The user is opted out of demographic measurement if the OS-level "Opt out of Ads Personalization" ("Limit Ad Tracking" for iOS) setting is enabled. As a publisher, you cannot override this setting.

Legacy Opt-out

The Legacy opt-out method is only necessary for Nielsen Android SDK versions less than 5.1.1.18.

Nielsen Android SDK 5.1.1.18 and above will check for OS-level opt-out first, if available. The user will be opted out if indicated at the OS-level OR the App-level.

The legacy opt-out method works as follows:

  • Get the current Nielsen opt-out URL via userOptOutURLString()
  • Display a WebView element whose loadUrl is set to the value obtained from userOptOutURLString()
  • Detect if the WebView URL changes to a special URL that indicates Opt-in, or Opt-out and close the WebView
    • Opt-out if the WebView URL = nielsenappsdk://1
    • Opt-in if the WebView URL = nielsenappsdk://0
  • Pass the detected URL to the userOptOut() function
    • Example:
      appSdk.userOptOut("nielsenappsdk://1");  // User opt-out
      

Legacy Opt Out example code

public class OptOutActivity extends AppCompatActivity implements IAppNotifier {

WebView webView;
AppSdk appSdk;

  private static final String NIELSEN_URL_OPT_OUT = "nielsenappsdk://1";
  private static final String NIELSEN_URL_OPT_IN = "nielsenappsdk://0";
 
//  Within your app you would provide your User the option to Opt Out.
//  Perhaps via a toggle or button
//  This is separate from Limit Ad Tracking 

      let urlStr = navigationAction.request.url?.absoluteString

        if(urlStr == NIELSEN_URL_OPT_OUT || urlStr == NIELSEN_URL_OPT_IN){
            let appApi = self.nielsenApi
            appApi?.userOptOut(urlStr)
}

Retrieve current Opt-Out preference

Whether the user is opted out viaOS-level Opt-out or via App-level Opt-out, the current Opt-Out status as detected by the SDK is available via the getOptOutStatus() property in the Nielsen Android SDK API,

Required Privacy Links

Users must either have access to the "About Nielsen Measurement" page, or have similar text available within the native app. Include "About Nielsen Measurement" and "Your Choices" link in the Privacy Policy / EULA or as a button near the link to the app's Privacy Policy.

In addition, the following text must be included in your app store description.

"Please note: This app features Nielsen’s proprietary measurement software which contributes to market research, like Nielsen’s TV Ratings. Please see http://priv-policy.imrworldwide.com/priv/mobile/us/en/optout.html for more information"

Webview Example

The below code is an example of displaying the Nielsen Privacy page to the user.

public class OptOutActivity extends AppCompatActivity implements IAppNotifier {

    WebView webView;
    AppSdk appSdk;

    @Override
    public void onCreate(@Nullable Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
        setContentView(R.layout.activity_optout);
        webView = (WebView) findViewById(R.id.webView);

        webView.getSettings().setJavaScriptEnabled(true);

        webView.setWebViewClient(new WebViewClient() {
            @SuppressWarnings("deprecation")
            @Override
            public void onReceivedError(WebView view, int errorCode, String description, String failingUrl) {
                Toast.makeText(OptOutActivity.this, description, Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
            }
            @TargetApi(android.os.Build.VERSION_CODES.M)
            @Override
            public void onReceivedError(WebView view, WebResourceRequest req, WebResourceError rerr) {
                // Redirect to deprecated method, so you can use it in all SDK versions
                onReceivedError(view, rerr.getErrorCode(), rerr.getDescription().toString(), req.getUrl().toString());
            }
        });

        NielsenInit nielsenInit = new NielsenInit();
        appSdk = nielsenInit.initAppSdk(getApplicationContext(), this);
        //Getting the optPut URL from eventTracker
        String url = appSdk.userOptOutURLString();
        webView.loadUrl(url);
    }


Going Live

Following Nielsen testing, users need to make one update to the initialization call to ensure that the site is being measured properly.

  1. Debug Logging: Disable logging by deleting {nol_sdkDebug: 'DEBUG'} from initialization call.

Note: before going live you have to inform Nielsen team - this is necessary, because Nielsen team has to adjust internal configuration parameter to enable data collection. Without that notification no data will be collected and no data will be reported.

Sample Applications

The below sample applications have been designed to show the API's functionality and are broken into two distinct categories:

  • Advanced - Nielsen API integrated into a custom video player is contained in the ZIP package.