Nielsen TV ratings rival Rentrak this morning said the Media Rating Council has begun auditing its two main TV ratings services – TV Essentials and StationView Essentials – a first step toward industry accreditation.
Rentrak disclosed that it already has undergone a “pre-audit,” and will now participate in a more “comprehensive” audit of its services by an independent accounting firm retained by the MRC.
Rentrak did not say how long the audit process would take, but said that once it is completed it will be reviewed by an MRC committee that would determine whether to recommend accreditation.
While MRC accreditation doesn’t guarantee that a ratings service will serve as an ad industry trading currency, it is deemed a necessary vote of confidence. That said, Madison Avenue routinely conducts business on the basis of unaccredited ratings, such as it is currently doing with Nielsen’s local diaries ratings service.
The MRC, which was originally formed as the Broadcast Rating Council in the 1960s as part of an industry consent decree with the Justice Department following hearings in Congress on ratings scandals, is a completely self-regulatory body.