NEW YORK—Faced with mounting criticism of its ratings, Nielsen has asked the Media Rating Council to suspend the accreditation process for its National TV ratings service so that it can “concentrate our audit-related efforts on continuing to address panel concerns alongside the transformation of our National TV product and development of Nielsen ONE,” a Nielsen spokesperson said in a statement.
Nielsen has been under fire for undercounting viewers during the pandemic. In June the MRC reported Nielsen had undercounted local TV viewing and in July, the Video Advertising Council, a major trade group representing networks and distributors, asked the MRTC to suspend its accreditation.
The Nielsen spokesperson noted that “we believe hiatus is the best course of action at this time and will allow us to focus on innovating our core products, continuing to deliver data that the industry can rely on and ultimately creating a better media future for the entire industry.”
“As we previously announced in November 2020, we are transforming our National TV products through the integration of big data sources and have committed to delivering impact data beginning in January 2022,” the spokesperson said. “We are also strengthening our CTV and streaming offerings as we prepare to launch a single, deduplicated cross-media measurement solution. We are committed to delivering these capabilities to meet our clients’ needs.”
In the interim, the company also stressed that it is working to improve “the panels, which continue to be a core element of our measurement. [W]e remain focused on recovering our panels for the future. Since March, we’ve been working diligently to get our panel back up to full strength by increasing panel size, improving demographic representation and addressing panel maintenance. We’re applying key learnings from the last 18 months and are actively making adjustments to our field operations that will inform our processes as we prepare for possible impact from surging COVID-19 variants, while also diligently ensuring the health and safety of our panel homes and people.”
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.
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