Following more than a year of extensive auditing of its TV audience measurement methods, the Media Rating Council has determined that Rentrak’s national and local TV ratings are not yet ready for prime-time and will not receive accreditation.
“The products were not sufficiently compliant with MRC’s standards,” the industry ratings watchdog said in a statement announcing that Rentrak failed an audit of its national and local TV ratings systems after more than a year of detailed analysis and evaluation.
The MRC noted that it is not unusual for a complex ratings system not to pass its initial audit, and said Rentrak has indicated it plans to follow through on “remediation steps” recommended by the MRC and would comply with a new audit that would be necessary for the MRC to reconsider accreditation of the services.
The MRC said it expects a new audit to take place before the end of 2015.
The news follows a number of high-profile deals for Rentrak to license its ratings to TV network and station groups, and some big ad agencies such as Horizon Media, Saatchi & Saatchi, Zenith Media and Starcom MediaVest Group.
While ratings services do not need to be accredited to be used as TV ad marketplace currency -- Nielsen’s local diary ratings currently are not accredited by the MRC -- the stamp of approval gives a higher degree of confidence that the ratings have passed industry muster.
The MRC indicated that Rentrak’s methods of deriving TV audience estimates from digital set-top data is complex and requires improvements before it can pass accreditation.
“The MRC believes that television return-path data from MVPDs, once adjusted and audience-attributed, can be a viable source for audience ratings presenting opportunities for enhanced granularity and stability,” the MRC said in its statement.The announcement comes as Nielsen is pushing ahead with some aggressive retooling of its local TV measurement systems, as well, including a controversial “viewer assignment” method that will attribute the audiences of people-metered households in some markets to represent viewers in non-people-meter markets.