Nielsen To Include More In Local Ratings

Nielsen is considering changes in the dissemination of local TV ratings in its 200+ DMAs nationwide.

Under the plan that hasn’t yet been approved, Nielsen would combine cable and broadcast reporting and separate wired cable ratings from other systems like satellite. These changes would take effect in the fall of 2003.

Under the current system, local market reports are created after the diaries are compiled. After the local sweeps are completed and results tabulated, then Nielsen clients are sent a printed ratings book, then a CD. A few weeks later, the same reports are delivered via CD with more sources, including cable. Nielsen spokeswoman Karen Kratz Gyimesi wants to combine all the CDs released to clients into one jumbo product called the Total Viewing Sources CD. The new CD would speed up the delivery of all those services, Kratz Gyimesi said.

Nielsen hopes to put on the CD two different forms of estimates, one that is based on the total market and the second for wired cable only. Currently what’s released is cable estimates that don’t distinguish between sources. This will help broadcast outlets because they’ll be able to see the wired cable viewing estimates. Cable outlets and MSOs will be able to see more of their data quicker and it will be compared to the broadcasters.

“It’s going to have a benefit for everyone,” she said.

Thousands of clients across the country are served by Nielsen: TV stations, cable systems, cable networks, broadcast networks and ad agencies. This will also be of interest to spot TV and cable purchasers, as they will the ratings faster.

“It will really enable the agencies to put all that data, cable and broadcast, on one computer screen at the same time,” she said.

The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau voiced support for the plan. CAB President and CEO Joe Ostrow said more cable ratings will be available to advertisers on a market-by-market basis, “providing media decision-makers with a wider array of options for maximizing the value of their local TV budgets.”

The Television Advertising Bureau couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

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