4A's Challenges Nielsen's Decision To Combine OOH, In-Home TV Ratings

The 4A's said today it is challenging Nielsen’s decision to combine its national in-home and out-of-home television viewership measurement data into a single stream. 

The new stream, which Nielsen says will be implemented by the start of the upcoming broadcast TV season, will affect C3 and C7 ratings, the 4A's said.

This decision will “negatively impact both agencies and marketers and their ability to distinguish data streams to support pricing, analysis and audience understanding,” the organization said in a statement.

4A's CEO Marla Kaplowitz argues that ”agency buyers and marketers have the right to negotiate for the inventory pricing and related metrics including data access, and the use of a single data stream eliminates that choice.”

She added that combining the viewership streams “negatively impacts which metrics inform different viewing experiences, and dilutes the transparent measurement solutions that the industry should strive for when making financial decisions.”



Concerns include pricing but also the ability of buyers to prepare for the switch in such a short time frame.  And by Nielsen’s own account, the group asserted, “estimated out-of-home audiences are down by as much as 60%, making accurate forecasting next to impossible using historical data.”

The 4A’s wants Nielsen to propose an alternative approach that avoids combining the two measurements, without the ability to break them out as buyers deem necessary via third party and agency analysis systems. It also wants a delay of any combined data stream until it passes accreditation by the MRC.


1 comment about "4A's Challenges Nielsen's Decision To Combine OOH, In-Home TV Ratings".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 21, 2020 at 8:41 a.m.

    In addition to all of the reasons cited, Nielsen's OOH ratings are particularly suspect when it comes to commercial minute "viewing". As I have noted many times, "viewing" is not even measured in the sense that the person wearing or carrying the PPM device indicates that he/she is "watching" the content that the device is "hearing" via an audio signal. The system simply assumes that viewing takes place. Anyone who believes that this assumption is valid for OOH commercials must live on some other planet. The solution is obvious. Do a proper validation study---using TVision -style "eyes-on-screen" measures---if possible. If not, use properly conducted ad recall and message playback studies to compare the performance of the same commercials in in-home and OOH situations. Neeedless to say, the networks are not going to do this but advertisers should insist that Nielsen employ an objective research company to handle the job, using the peoplemeter in-home and PPM OOH system to identify commercial minute "viewers". Failing that, why not do the study yourself, 4As?

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