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MRC Suspends Accreditation of Nielsen’s National Television Service

Nielsen
(Image credit: Nielsen)

NEW YORK, N.Y.—The Media Rating Council (MRC) has announced that the MRC Board of Directors has voted in favor of suspending the MRC accreditation of Nielsen’s National Television service.

It also voted to remove the current accreditation hiatus status designation from Nielsen’s Local People Meter and Set Meter Markets services, and to suspend accreditation for these markets.

An accreditation suspension may be imposed by MRC when an accredited service has been documented “to have material standards non-compliance or operational issues that are deemed to have exerted an adverse effect on the service,” the MRC explained. 

Under MRC procedures, a formal notification of the possibility of suspension is required to be provided to the service 30 days in advance of a suspension officially taking effect.  In this instance, Nielsen was informed of the possibility of a suspension action on August 12th for the National Television service, and on August 20th for the Local Market services, the MRC said. 

“While we are disappointed that the situation has come to this, we believe these are the proper actions for the MRC to take at this time,” said George W. Ivie, executive director and CEO of the MRC.  “MRC’s Board of Directors, which represents an extremely broad range of industry constituencies, and includes advertisers, agencies, and media companies of all types, is strongly unified in its positions on these matters.  MRC stands committed in our willingness to work with Nielsen toward the goal of being able to restore accreditation to these important services at the earliest possible time, and it is our hope that Nielsen likewise will continue to engage with MRC and its clients in pursuit of that goal.”

The move comes at a time when Nielsen has been under increased fire for the accuracy of its TV viewing data. In response, some major media companies such as NBCUniversal have been exploring other measurement options. 

In late August, NBCUniversal said it was seeing other solutions to Nielsen’s “outdated” measurement system as the MRC was considering whether to remove Nielsen’s accreditation. 

The MRC had criticized Nielsen’s data earlier this year and in August Nielsen said it wanted the MRC to put accreditation on hiatus so it could work on fixing the problems with its panels and to focus on the upcoming launch of its new measurement service Nielsen One.  

The MRC responded by saying Nielsen had “deep-rooted, ongoing” problems and by saying its board would have to vote on the accreditation issue. 

In terms of the Local Market services, the MRC reported that its “Board chose to end the hiatus status that had existed for those markets since January 2021 after Nielsen’s confirmation to MRC on August 17th of its intention to add Broadband-Only (BBO) homes to its local panels in October 2021.  Based on continuing issues with the Local Market services, some of which parallel those of the National Television service, as well as the Board’s assessment of Nielsen’s ability to appropriately integrate BBO viewing at a local market level at this time, the Board additionally suspended the accreditation for the Local Markets as well.”

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.