Late on Friday, after facing criticism and a backlash this week from its TV network clients, Nielsen decided to reverse its decision on out-of-home viewing: It will go ahead with a plan to integrate viewing from restaurants, bars and other locations into its national TV viewing metric starting this fall.
In a letter sent to clients, David Kenny, chief executive officer/chief diversity officer of Nielsen, said:
“After speaking with many clients and learning more about your specific agreements for the upcoming season, it became clear that we had misunderstood the extent to which upfront deals have already been agreed to using out-of-home metrics.”
He added: “Given the circumstances, we recognize that a delay would cause greater disruption to the industry than maintaining our original plan.”
Earlier in the week, Nielsen said it would be shelving its plan to incorporate OOH (out-of-home) data in its national TV currency measure for this fall due to COVID-19 -- which has forced many restaurants, bars and other establishments in the U.S. to close.
That prompted TV network groups, and the TV advertising trade association VAB to voice strong objections to the change. Some out-of-home viewing -- especially for big sports viewing in restaurants/bars -- can add up to 10% or even 20% of national TV viewing measurement.
Kenny added in the letter:“Nielsen will move forward with the integration of out-of-home TV viewing into the National TV currency measurement starting in September 2020, as originally planned. We will also provide additional data on out-of-home behavior to help you interpret behavior shifts during the pandemic.”