TV Network Execs Upset Over Delay Of OOH Integration Into National TV Nielsen Metric

TV network sales executives are up in arms over Nielsen’s announcement that it would delay the integration of out-of-home viewing into its national TV ratings.

Nielsen intended to add OOH viewership to its national TV ratings for this fall -- just in time for big sporting events such as the NFL.

Out-of-home viewing -- especially for sports in bars, restaurants -- can add significant levels of viewership -- 10% to 20% in some cases.

In a sharply worded letter to Nielsen Chief Executive Officer David Kenny on Thursday, Sean Cunningham, president/chief executive officer of VAB, the advertising trade group representing major TV networks' ad sales organizations, said:

“We emphatically disagree with both the substance and the handling of that decision, we believe it puts all parties in the TV marketplace at a unnecessary disadvantage.” 



“And as one of your largest sets of Nielsen customers we implore you to return to plan -- with OOH viewing data fully integrated into a single stream of currency data without postponement or delay.”

An earlier Nielsen announcement said COVID-19 was a major issue in the postponement of the integration of OOH viewership. 

“In consideration of the impact the pandemic has had on out-of-home audiences, Nielsen has decided to postpone the integration of PPM measured out-of-home viewing into the National TV currency.”

Nielsen added: “Throughout this crisis, out-of-home audiences have been particularly hard hit, with estimates falling by as much as 60%. This is driven by broad stay-at-home orders, significant reduction in travel, closures of restaurants and public gathering establishments, and other situations that have reduced exposure to television content outside of the home.”

Cunningham added that the decision ”is a flagrant contradiction in Nielsen's announcement, it deems your OOH data as currently unfit for integration into a single stream currency product, yet it is then offered as a second stream solution for ‘allowing the industry to continue to transact on this data’.

A ViacomCBS statement to Television News Daily said: “Nielsen's abrupt delay of the long-planned integration of OOH viewing into the National TV currency less than two months before it was scheduled to be implemented is unacceptable and unjustifiable. ViacomCBS -- along with our peers and the VAB -- is calling on Nielsen to reverse its decision.”

2 comments about "TV Network Execs Upset Over Delay Of OOH Integration Into National TV Nielsen Metric".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 10, 2020 at 3:07 p.m.

    Wayne, smart ad agency media planners, buyers and researchers have serious reservations about Nielsen's measurement of OOH "vieinng" using the ex-Arbitron portable people meters --PPMs. These merely capture audio signals from TV content indicating that a channel's programs can be "heard" by a person wearing or carrying a PPM---in which case. "viewing" is assumed. Such findings are especially dubious when commercials are on the screen. Taking all situations, not a few extreme exceptions---certain sports attractions----OOH adds 2-3% to in-home viewing--not exactly a big deal. Worse,  Nielsen's in-home peoplemeter system requires panel members to indicate that they, specifically, are "watching---but the OOH PPMs do not. Any advertiser who accepts the idea that PPM measured OOH "audiences" can be lumped together with Nielsen's in-home viewing projections as if the two sets of data are comparable is simply taking himself/herself to the cleaners. The two  audience estimates should be reported separately, thereby allowing savvy buyers to discount the OOH figures as they see fit.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, July 10, 2020 at 5:37 p.m.

    Agreed Ed.   That is a primary reason it has mot passed muster.   I also wonder how much extra it would cost to garner those extra few rating points.   On a CPM basis it would be as poor business decision.   Ditto re the 2-3%.

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