Analyst Reports Nielsen Services Will Be Reaccredited Soon

The Media Rating Council (MRC) will reaccredit Nielsen’s national TV ratings service “soon,” and it will fast-track its new digital ratings methodology, with a vote on reaccrediting it within the next few weeks, a top Wall Street analyst asserted in a note sent to investors Sunday.

“Not only do we expect Nielsen to have [its national TV ratings service] accreditation re-instated, but we also expect its digital ratings (which were voluntarily undergoing re-accreditation for Nielsen’s new methodology) to move forward positively,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon writes, adding: “It's possible the Digital vote comes during the 45-day go shop.”

That 45-day window began March 29 when Nielsen entered into an agreement to be acquired by a group of private-equity firms, and it allows Nielsen to continue seeking another suitor until it expires.

Salmon, who reiterated his “outperform” rating for Nielsen’s stock, said the company has informed him that it doesn’t expect an MRC vote on its national TV service until mid-2022, and “likely” also the 2022-23 national TV advertising upfront marketplace is completed.

Asked for comment, the MRC said no explicit timeframe has been set for reaccrediting Nielsen's services.

“Nielsen is continuing to work on the issues that led to our suspension, and our audit work has begun.  But as of now, we have no meetings scheduled to reconsider the statuses of either the national or local television services, and no imminent plans to do so," says David Gunzerath, senior vice president and associate director of the MRC.

And while numerous networks and agencies have been touting the role of “alternate currencies” in this year’s upfront marketplace, Salmon writes: “This isn’t the upfront Nielsen will be disrupted.”

Citing recent conversations with industry executives, he writes: “all linear TV advertising will be transacted on Nielsen GRPs (gross rating points),” and most alternate “currency challengers will still largely be used for secondary guarantees.”

The analyst's report follows last week’s declarative announcement by Horizon Media that it will negotiate as much as 15% of its 2022-23 upfront deals based on alternate currencies other than Nielsen’s.

The MRC suspended accreditation for Nielsen’s national and local TV measurement services in September, and has given no indication that a vote on reaccrediting either service is imminent.

In March, the MRC announced that it has reached an agreement with Nielsen about auditing its services, and indicated a complete audit report is not expected to until the end of the third quarter of 2022.

The MRC also said an audit of Nielsen's "Big Data" inputs to its future TV measurement platform was not expected to be completed until mid-third quarter 2022.

In addition, last week the MRC said it began scrutinizing the performance of key markets in Nielsen’s audio measurement service as well.

During MediaPost’s Outfront Forum last week, several top agency media executives reiterated their plans to actively utilize alternative currencies in this year’s upfront, although the consensus appeared to be that much of it would indeed be for so-called “secondary guarantees.”

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