Media Rating Council now examining Nielsen’s radio rating numbers
MRC pulled accreditation of company's TV ratings last year.
The Media Rating Council (MRC) is scrutinizing part of Nielsen’s radio audience ratings. The move comes six months after the MRC revoked its accreditation of the company’s TV ratings.
What is happening. The council said that a recent audit of Nielsen’s ratings numbers found ongoing performance declines in eight of the 30 currently accredited radio markets. As a result, the MRC will be monitoring the use and performance of the company’s portable people meter (PPM) in these markets – Baltimore, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis and Nassau-Suffolk.
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“This enhanced monitoring program is now underway, and will be continued into the foreseeable future,” the MRC said in a statement, adding: “It involves detailed and frequent monitoring and verification of key PPM panel performance metrics in the eight markets. In addition, these metrics will be compared against commitments Nielsen has made to MRC as part of a PPM panel improvement program that is designed to improve panel performances in these and other PPM markets.”
The move follows last year’s suspension of Nielsen’s accreditation for its national and local TV services.
Background. A year ago, a trade group representing the major television networks said Nielsen undercounted TV viewers during the pandemic because technicians were not able to get into panelists’ homes to fix devices. This was quickly confirmed by the MRC. In May Nielsen reported it had been undercounting out-of-home viewership since the previous December, blaming a software error. Four months later, the ratings council suspended Nielsen’s accreditation.
“In response to recent audits of Nielsen’s Audio PPM service, Nielsen and the Media Rating Council have agreed upon a panel monitoring process to be applied to eight out of the 30 currently accredited Nielsen Audio PPM markets,” Nielsen said in a statement. “These markets remain accredited and Nielsen is committed to working collaboratively with the MRC to provide transparency and continual improvement.”
Why we care. First and foremost, ratings accuracy is essential for marketing. Trust in Nielsen, took an enormous hit when the MRC pulled accreditation for the company’s TV numbers. The MRC finding enough reason to examine its radio numbers will make that worse. It used to be that Nielsen could rely on being the sole provider of TV ratings to make money. Not only are others entering that space, but TV viewership is declining. Digital audience measurement is the present and the future. Nielsen is giving companies a lot of reasons to look elsewhere in what is a very competitive sector.
Dig deeper: Is Nielsen’s prime time over?