NEWS20 November 2009

AAAA attacks Nielsen over new DVR metric

North America

US— The American Association of Advertising Agencies has protested to Nielsen over the ratings firm’s plans to replace its ‘live’ metric as the main ratings currency in local people meter markets with a new ‘live plus same day’ metric.

Nielsen announced earlier this month that the new metric, which adds ratings for shows that are recorded on DVRs and watched the same day, will be introduced in January.

In a letter to clients, Nielsen said that the ‘live only’ rating would still be available to clients who request it.

However, Marc Goldman, chairman of the AAAA’s media policy committee, told Nielsen vice chair Susan Whiting (pictured) of his “absolute displeasure and disappointment” in the firm’s decision to prioritise the new metric.

Goldman, who also serves as president and CEO of WPP-owned media agency Group M, said that Nielsen had shown “total disregard” for the concerns of local broadcast media buyers and had “chosen to insert yourself in the buy/sell process”.

“We do not quibble with your desire or the local stations’ desire to publish ‘live plus same day’ data,” Goldman wrote. “This is not about the acceptance of new technologies or the inclusion of time-shifted viewing. It’s about your corresponding decision to eliminate a stream of ratings desired by the buying community that places you at the centre of a dialogue between those two parties. Simply put, you do not belong there.”

He went on to say that Nielsen had “taken sides” in the debate between media buyers and sellers and urged the firm to restore the live data as a buying option.

But not all sections of the industry shared the AAAA’s concerns over the change in currency. In a note to its members, the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) congratulated and thanked its members for contacting Nielsen in the build up to the change in policy.

“We fully supported this recommendation,” TVB said, “as did many of our members, and many of you responded to our call to make your wishes known to Nielsen.”

Nielsen said it had reviewed the AAAA’s letter and would respond but “at the same time we continue to believe that the decisions we have made, which were arrived at after extensive client consultation, represent the best set of solutions”.  

Meanwhile Nielsen has axed 57 jobs at its Oldsmar, Florida facility in a move to cut costs.

The firm said that of the lost jobs, around half would be outsourced to Tata in India, which Nielsen already has a relationship with.