NEWS5 March 2013

Nielsen handed TAM task in Ukraine after ratings row

Europe New business

UKRAINE — Nielsen is to begin measuring Ukrainian TV audiences from next year, replacing GfK whose TAM service was engulfed in a row over the alleged bribery of panel households last year.

Ukrainian newspaper reports say that Nielsen was invited to replace GfK without a formal tender, despite the latter having signed a contract extension to the end of 2014. GfK has provided TV ratings services to the country’s Television Industry Committee (TIC) for 10 years.

Nielsen’s TV ratings will be collected from a national sample of 3,740 homes – a 50% increase over the current panel size. The first batch of Nielsen data is expected to be delivered to subscribers in January 2014.

In 2011, TIC signed an extension with GfK to carry out TV audience measurement in the country. That contract is due to end in December 2014.

However in May 2012, Ru.Music TV channel director Rudolf Kirnos claimed to have evidence that TV ratings in the country were being manipulated, which was having a knock-on effect on the distribution of advertising income. Kirnos claimed that some households within the GfK panel had been bribed to change what they watch. He also accused at least two GfK employees of selling on data about panel households.

Soon after the claims were made GfK ordered an investigation by Kroll – which found no evidence that GfK Ukraine employees had been involved in such a scheme.

“On the basis of the existing evidence, we’ve come to the conclusion that there are neither conditions nor proof that could confirm the existence of internal corruption at GfK Ukraine,” the company said in a November statement, citing Kroll managing director Robert Viteretti.

Statistical audits did identify a certain number of households within the panel as showing non-typical viewing habits, GfK said. However, when interviewed these households “presented clear explanations about their behaviour when they watched television, adding that… no one asked them to change their behaviour when they watch television,” said GfK. “In addition, there is no confidence that orders [to view certain programmes] existed, as this cannot be proved.”


1 Comment

8 years ago

In a panel of 2,500 homes you would expect that SOME households would HAVE to at some stage during their duration on the panel display 'non-typical viewing habits'. I would be more suspicious of a panel in which 'rogue' viewing never showed up. After all we are dealing with real people who do not always conform to the norm. Here in Australia we regularly investigate the 'outliers' (heaviest and lightest viewing households). Invariably we pick up a handful of homes that have updated equipment, disposed of old equipment or changed their household composition. But in the big picture these homes don't move the ratings needle and this is mainly just good housekeeping and 'best practice'.

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