VAB Asks MRC To Pull Nielsen Accreditation

TV ad trade group the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) has asked the Media Rating Council (MRC) to suspend Nielsen’s accreditation in response to its claim the research company continues to under-count TV viewing -- as well as under-representing Black and Hispanic homes -- as a result of disruption due to …

3 comments about "VAB Asks MRC To Pull Nielsen Accreditation".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 21, 2021 at 5:40 p.m.

    While I agree with the VAB that Nielsen handled this whole thing poorly and should have been more open---even to auditing--- this move is a bit over the top to my way of thinking. The VAB is suggesting that advertisers may consider the use of other "currencies" than Nielsen's household and viewer ratings when buying national TV time because of suspected understatement of average commercial minute audiences of around 5% during the pandemic. OK, but hasn't Nielsen been dealing with this problem and aren't "viewing" levels rising to more normal levels? So is the intent to puniish Nielsen this year for last year's errors? Is that a fair appraoch?

    And what about the supposed alternatives. These are listed by the VAB as set-top-box ratings, visits to advertised brands' websites and sales results for advertising brands. The set-top-box ratings are based on panels of "pay TV" homes which, as everyone knows do not represent all homes and do not provide viewer information. Does that make sense as a replacement for Nielsen's data? As for visits to websites and brand sales does anyone think that buyers and, especially sellers would accept these are time buying currencies on a massive basis? And what about TV programmers and program producers? Would they evaluate the performance of their shows based on visits to advertiser websites or  sales results for advertised brands?

    There is one othe ralternative---a national panel---probably much larger than Nielsen's currennt one and more expensive---which would measure viewer attentiveness to commercials. Would the TV networks support and largely fund such a service which shows that Nielsen's current "average commercial minute viewer" estimates overstate actual commercial viewing by at least 100%? Is that in the cards?

    So, yes, Nielsen should be more open and forthcoming and it deserves to be spanked---pretty  hard----but I think that this move to have the MRC revoke Nielsen's accreditation is like biting the hand that feeds you. There must be a better way.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, July 21, 2021 at 9:43 p.m.

    I wonder whether the VAB has ever heard of the term 'weighting' of a sample/panel?

  3. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, July 22, 2021 at 9:18 a.m.

    The industry was using C3 ratings as currency for about 3 years before they were accredited. Most people didn't know, and the rest didn't care.

    Interesting double standard we have in our business. Facebook, for one, grades its own homework, admits or gets caught at fudging the numbers, and we just throw more money at them.

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