NEWS13 August 2021

Nielsen looks to suspend industry-backed TV measurement accreditation

Covid-19 Media News North America

US – Nielsen is seeking a hiatus from the accreditation process led by the Media Rating Council (MRC) for its national TV ratings service.

Couple watching TV

Nielsen’s TV ratings are used by advertisers to measure the performance of TV programmes. The company’s move to "initiate the accreditation hiatus process" follows questions from TV networks over its measurement.

"While we remain confident in the integrity of our data and measurement, and fully support the audit process, we believe that moving to a hiatus allows us to concentrate our audit-related efforts on continuing to address panel concerns alongside the transformation of our National TV product and development of Nielsen One," Nielsen said in a statement.

The MRC conducts audits of companies that provide audience measurement services to determine whether they comply with industry standards.

In July, the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), which represents TV networks, asked the MRC to suspend Nielsen’s accreditation, citing "systemic issues" it discovered during the pandemic in an earlier investigation.

The MRC said in May that changes Nielsen made to panel-related procedures due to Covid-19, including adjustments to its standard meter maintenance measures, led to underreporting of viewing figures during February.

Nielsen said in the statement: "Since March, we’ve been working diligently to get our panel back up to full strength by increasing panel size, improving demographic representation and addressing panel maintenance. We’re applying key learnings from the last 18 months and are actively making adjustments to our field operations that will inform our processes as we prepare for possible impact from surging Covid-19 variants, while also diligently ensuring the health and safety of our panel homes and people.

"We believe hiatus is the best course of action at this time and will allow us to focus on innovating our core products, continuing to deliver data that the industry can rely on."