Nielsen To Reprocess All Ratings Affected By Glitch, Begins Releasing Some Of It

Nielsen late Tuesday night updated clients on TV ratings that have been reprocessed following the discovery and disclosure of a “technical error” that caused a glitch in ratings for national broadcast networks and syndicated TV shows over a several-month period beginning March 2.

Nielsen said that following conversations with various clients, it now plans to reprocess all of the ratings from that date forward, and provided a timetable for various reprocessing updates.

Nielsen said that ratings from the week of Sept. 22nd -- the traditional start of the 2014-15 prime-time season -- have been reprocessed and reissued to Nielsen customers.

However, Nielsen said that reprocessed ratings for new season shows airing as earlier as Aug. 18 would not be released until Nov. 17 -- a couple of weeks later than the Oct. 31st date it originally told clients when it disclosed the glitch.



3 comments about "Nielsen To Reprocess All Ratings Affected By Glitch, Begins Releasing Some Of It".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, October 15, 2014 at 11:02 a.m.

    Headlines from Madison Avenue this morning say: "Media buyers to Nielsen: Seven months? That's how long it took to catch a flaw in its TV ratings." (medialife MAGAZINE, Diego Vasquez, 10.15.14)

    Media buyers are correct. We're looking at far more than a tiny blemish or minor "flaw." Seven (7) months means Nielsen has a major, persistent malfunction, symptomatic of systemic error and much worse to follow.

    The real issue is not TV ratings for specific programs and specific networks. Television Journalists and Journalists who cover Television - in all forms - should be focusing on the accuracy and reliability of the entire medium's measurement. It's a matter of methodology and management.

    The mind boggles with last Friday's scenario: beloved Nielsen SVP, Pat McDonough, soon to retire, was forced to defend the TV ratings mill, while inscrutable CEO, Mitch Barns, remained invisible and silent, like Kim Jong-un. (Unlike Mitch, however, Kim has reappeared.) So, what is Nielsen hiding? It's time for the FTC & FCC to confront the ratings monopoly and force the issue of professional, scientific accountability.

    As if this “glitch” weren’t enough, there’s more trouble to come. Nielsen is now working on plans to implement a process that would increase the apparent "statistical reliability" of its ratings by appearing to significantly reduce the standard errors (SE) of its estimates. In fact, Nielsen will be diminishing the "statistical validity" (i.e., accuracy) of its ratings estimates. Instead of tabulating (i.e., counting) the actual viewership from NPM (Nielsen People Meter) Households, as it ought to -- and has claimed to for more than 5 decades, Nielsen will model (i.e., arithmetically guess) the sample panel’s viewing data in a substantial portion of its newly "Expanded Sample Frame.” And it ought to be noted that the expansion will come predominantly from households equipped solely with "archaic" set meters, not modernized People Meters (i.e., GTAM/STPM).

    Arthur C. Nielsen once admonished: "Watch every detail that affects the accuracy of your work." Alas, the institutional memory is being wiped "clean" for the sake of popularity and profitability. The scientific method and measurement principles seem no longer to be sine qua non.

    If Nielsen ratings are to be considered the currency of the marketing, advertising and media industries, then Nielsen is called to the highest levels of accountability and fiduciary responsibility, from which it has fallen far short.
    In sum, this is not a Nielsen "glitch;" it's a Nielsen fiasco.

    [Nicholas P. Schiavone: Former NBC Research Chief & Chairman, CONTAM, 1990 to 1999

  2. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, October 15, 2014 at 5:46 p.m.

    To the Editor-In-Chief of MediaPost: Could MediaPost Publications filter advertising and marketing messages from the comments pages of its first-rate periodicals? It's ironic to request such "censorship," but we are not talking about freedom-of-speech. We are talking about editorial control and quality.

  3. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, October 15, 2014 at 8:55 p.m.

    Thank you very much

Next story loading loading..