NEWS18 April 2023

MRC reaccredits Nielsen’s national TV measurement

Media News North America

US – Nielsen has had its national television measurement service reaccredited by the Media Rating Council (MRC) after an almost one-and-a-half-year suspension of its accreditation.

Couple watching TV

Nielsen’s accreditation was suspended by the MRC in September 2021 following Nielsen’s request for a hiatus from the accreditation process for its national television audience measurement (TAM) service.

A series of standards non-compliance issues, some of which directly resulted from process and panel degradation issues and operational pressures arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, were also part of the reason for the suspension by the MRC.

The MRC also removed the accreditation hiatus that had been in place for Nielsen’s local TV ratings services, and suspended accreditation for these markets.

The industry association said in a statement at the time that suspensions may be imposed when a service “has been documented to have material standards non-compliance or operational issues that are deemed to have exerted an adverse effect on the service”.

In October 2021, Nielsen announced it would adopt an impressions-based industry currency and add broadband-only homes into its measurement metrics for local TV.

Following a November 2022 audit of Nielsen’s national TAM service, the MRC asked independent auditors to review Nielsen’s progress against identified non-compliance areas.

The audit report that followed said that Nielsen had complied with industry standards and led to the reaccreditation decision by the MRC.

The reinstatement of Nielsen excludes the digital in TV ratings (dTVR) component of the TAM service and does not include Nielsen’s local market television service, which remains in an accreditation suspension status.

The reaccreditation decision also does not include Nielsen’s digital ad ratings (DAR), the forthcoming integration of certain Return Path and ACR data into the TAM service, or the Nielsen One measurement service, all of which are in various stages of MRC audit.

George Ivie, executive director and chief executive at the MRC, said: “Nielsen has undertaken strong efforts to correct the issues that led to its loss of MRC accreditation 19 months ago and to restore key aspects of its panel performance.

“The MRC’s audit has shown these efforts have been successful, and as a result, our TV Committee and Board agreed that accreditation should be reinstated.”

However, Ivie added that there was still “more work to be done” by Nielsen to make sure National TAM measurements continued to meet industry standards and requirements.

Ivie explained: “Specifically, this includes ensuring that the future incorporation of Return Path and ACR Data demonstrates required compliance and transparency to maintain accreditation, continuance of Nielsen’s commitments to validate and improve its estimates of the level of broadband-only households in the TAM service and enhancing the disclosures it provides to users about the variability associated with its estimates of television viewing.

“These latter two commitments were especially critical to our decision to re-apply accreditation at this time.”

Karthik Rao, chief executive officer, audience measurement at Nielsen, said: “As the industry demands measurement that is trusted, independent and founded on real viewing from real people, we continue to support the MRC guidelines that set the standard for quality, audited measurement.

“At Nielsen, we believe the accreditation process has made us stronger as we’ve evolved our panel strategy and quality measures, and inspired new automation technologies and approaches to ensure that our service remains consistent and reliable.”