More than four years after Nielsen lost accreditation for the demographic audience data for most of its local TV market services, it has once again been accredited by industry ratings watchdog the Media Rating Council. Sort of.
Nielsen and the MRC this morning announced that both Nielsen's local people meters and its local set-meters (operating in 19 markets) have been accredited, including demographic data for those markets, which utilize a new "viewer assignment" modeling methodology utilized by Nielsen to replace the old-fashioned paper diaries it had previously used to generate demographic data in local TV markets not using people meters.
The announcement makes no mention of the other 179 local TV markets -- mostly smaller ones -- measured by Nielsen, but the MRC's website says several components of Nielsen's local TV measurement services remain under review, including core components of its methodology for assigning demographic data:
In addition, Nielsen announced that its national people meter service -- the basis for network TV ratings and demographic data -- has received continued MRC accreditation.
Joe, since nobody with a hint of media savvy buys TV time based on set usage ratings, this is not exactly a great victory for Nielsen as its viewer projections, based on some sort of simulation and ascription process, didn't pass muster.
Exactly! Sadly, TV measurement in the US remains in the dark ages. Perhaps "we" should invite BARB in the UK to take over? Joint Industry Committess - JICs that manage audience measurement across most major media platforms in many countries around the World while also admittedly frustrating work much better, produce higher quality data and cost less than the misguided US approach. Nielsen actually earns some of the JIC contracts but to the specifications required. I hear antitrust concerns in establishing JICs in the US? Tosh! Never was a real issue. Just fake news as confirmed at an ARF Conference on the subject many years ago.
Opportunity for CIMM in collaboration with ANA, NAB and 4As??
Tony Jarvis, Ed Papazian: There is a looming sea change in US TV measurement, driven by the collective forces of "advanced TV", first and third party data, and the reinvention of "TV" as cross-platform or multi-screen or screen-agnostic. I would urge taking a look at the ork bing done by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), local (as in, countri-specific) initiatives here in the US (ANA) and the UK (ISBA and Project Origin), and CIMM and Future of Television (FOT).
The WFA has managed to bring together measurement providers, broadcasters, digital walled gardens, and agencies into an initiative designed around the wants and needs of all our end-user customers-- the advertiser. And TOny, one element of all this that you will like is that whatever form these ultimate solutions take, "governamce" will be a major component.
Josh, I agree with you about some of these positive initiatives. The major problem and one that I don't see being addressed is how we measure TV audiences and, in particular, commercial audiences. What I expect to happen is the almost total reliance on device usage---something is on the screen and the assumption is that the "viewer" had an opportunity to see it---as opposed to a much needed measurement of whether the "viewer" was even present and whether he/she was looking at the screen as well as for what duration. This will be because the TV networks will probably oppose the use of new technology that can provide actual eyes-on-screen indicators since these will reveal that many "commercial minute viewers" are not in the room or watching during commercials. Unless we move to eyes-on-screen, which seems to be possible now, we will be using OTS ( opportunity-to-see ) data which are vastly inflated and/or misleading in our evaluations of such matters as the effects of frequency, attempts at determining "attribution", etc. ---all of which I support. It's like developing a perfect car but forgetting to get the right fuel for it to work.
Josh - An "inconvient truth?" You are the best at analogies but allow me to try and enhance Ed's fundamentally sound position and extend his"perfect car" analogy. Delighted if you can improve this positioning.
In chasing screen agnostic video measurement in all its formats and also cross-media measurement, the measurement "sea change" is the complete focus on the holy grail - advertising outcomes. Admirable, but these outcomes are the result of an array of forces many of which are more powerful than media but some of which need the unique leverage that media provide to work. Consequently, that ultimate, so called media measurement goal conveniently (?) misses the real common comparable measureable media (not advertising) metric potentially available today across all media whether linear or digital: Eyes-on or Ears-on, i.e., contacts - by a defined target group. Per Ed, eyes-on or ears-on reflects the "perfect car" media measurement of the media "vehicle" based on the right fuel. These are fundmental metrics to advertisers and the media publishers - commercial minute contacts or exposures - NOT some version of nebulous impressions! They are equally important to programmers or publishers - known exposures to content. They ARE media measurements per the ARF Media Model.
Surely, it is the tires, the pit crew and especially the driver that take advantage of the leverage of the perfect car and fuel, similar to leverage provided by the various media vehicles that deliver audience exposure to the creative message. These other elements help to deliver the direction, maneuverability, speed and the overall final performance in the race. It must be accepted, however inconvenient, that it is the composite of all the other marketing factors involved with the brand that deliver the ad impact or brand outcomes albeit as a result of media's leverage. The creative, the driver in our analogy(?), along with all these various campaign and brand marketing factors is generally considered to be the most powerful influence in delivering the final KPIs. So shouldn't the perfect car with the right fuel be the cross-media measurement focus? At least the attribution models and the marketing mix models would have the most meaningful media pressure inputs brand by brand, campaign by campaign each of which are always unique. And, the media would not be struggling with trying to ensure the ultimate brand consequences of plans that only represent a portion of the influence they can meaningfully exert.