Nielsen postponed meeting to discuss lifting national rankings support suspension
The TV industry’s most popular benchmark remains broken – at least for now.
Nielsen’s long-running national TV ratings have yet to regain industry support after the measurement giant asked to cancel a meeting due to take place on Monday where it was supposed to demonstrate its efforts to improve its ability to count viewers, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Nielsen on Nov. 9 requested a postponement of a Nov. 14 meeting of the Media Rating Council’s audit committee, the person said. MRC, an industry watchdog, compels measurement organizations to meet standards on behalf of the media sector. Nielsen was to explain how it improved its technology that measures TV audiences. The MRC suspended its accreditation for Nielsen’s national ratings in September 2021, citing findings that showed Nielsen underestimated viewership numbers during the coronavirus pandemic due to shortcomings in monitoring its technology. A communication to television networks regarding the postponement of the committee meeting said that Nielsen had shown “material noncompliance,” this person said.
“It is deeply disappointing that someone has shared a confidential document that tells only one side of the story of our continued involvement on Nielsen’s national television service,” said David Gunzerath, senior vice president and director. partner of the MRC, in a press release sent. Saturday. “While it is true that the current suspension of MRC accreditation remains in place at this time, it is also true that we believe Nielsen has made meaningful progress on most of the issues that led to this suspension. , and the MRC continues to work actively with Nielsen on track to resolve the remaining issues so that a review of reinstating accreditation to the national television service can take place relatively soon.
A spokeswoman for Nielsen referred a question to the MRC. An MRC spokesperson was unable to say whether Nielsen had asked to postpone or cancel a Nov. 14 meeting or about communications between the MRC committee and its members. Nielsen’s suspension status has previously been reported by Ad Age.
The revelation of the canceled reunion is the latest salvo in a months-long tussle between the television networks and the company that has long compiled its viewership, and is the latest sign of the television industry’s desperate need to find a new source of measurement as its audiences light up for the digital territory. Television networks, eager to demonstrate to Madison Avenue that they still have influence over viewers who turn to streaming outlets, alleged in 2021 that Nielsen changed protocol during the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in an undercount of the television audience.
While Nielsen pledged to rectify the situation, the networks were not satisfied. Indeed, many of them started working with a list of newcomers to measurement, including iSpot, Comscore, and VideoAmp, and struck deals in the industry’s recent initial market that included benchmarks based on the conclusions of these companies. NBCUniversal said in June, for example, that more than 40% of its initial offers were based on things other than traditional age and gender metrics, up from about 20% last year.
Even with the suspension in place, Nielsen began making metering deals with a slew of the networks’ digital rivals. In recent weeks, Nielsen has unveiled pacts that allow it to keep tabs on Alphabet’s YouTube TV ratings; Netflix’s new ad-supported subscription tier; and “Thursday Night Football” from Amazon Prime Video. In March, Nielsen agreed to be taken into private ownership by a group led by Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation, a subsidiary of activist fund Elliott Investment Management LP, which pushed for a sale of Nielsen, and Brookfield Business Partners LP, in part of a deal that called for a $16 billion all-cash deal.
Just as Nielsen often clashes with his TV partners over viewership numbers, he’s found himself at odds with Amazon over how many people are watching the e-commerce giant’s new streaming version of Thursday’s Matches. NFL. Nielsen’s audience count is lower than the outlet’s — a tabulation difference that will have an effect on how much advertisers will be willing to pay to appear alongside the pigskin storefront.
The best of variety
Subscribe to the Variety newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Click here to read the full article.