Big puzzle: Where the devil are the Nielsen ratings?
It's a question TV executives have been asking all this week
March 16, 2017
There was the season finale of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” the season premiere of the network’s “American Crime,” Rachel Maddow’s buzzed about (but ultimately underwhelming) reveal of Donald Trump’s taxes from 2005, and the season finale of NBC’s first-year hit “This Is Us.”
The problem is, no one knows how any of these shows did, thanks to a mega-snafu by Nielsen the ratings company just can’t seem to get its hands around.
Following a power outage Sunday at a data collection plant in Florida, the ratings company hasn’t issued any ratings, frustrating the major networks.
There are no final ratings for the week ended March 12 and no ratings for every day this week.
But perhaps the bigger problem is the way Nielsen has handed the snafu–not well at all.
On Tuesday it posted this statement on it’s website: “A power outage at our Oldsmar Data Center impacted the availability of some Nielsen applications and the planned delivery of some Nielsen data for Sunday, March 12th and Monday March 13th. We are actively working to resolve the issue and will continue to provide clients with updates as more information becomes available.”
In the time since, Nielsen has sent a series of emails to clients saying it was working on the problem but providing little real information as to when ratings data would be flowing again.
Shortly after noon on Wednesday the company sent an email to clients that promised an update at 4:30 p.m. That update was to include overnight ratings for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights.
Many client emails, still no ratings
Another email did arrive later in the afternoon, but without the promised ratings.
Nielsen instead said it would send out another email on Thursday at 10 a.m. with the promised overnights from Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Even if it does that, the industry is still missing final ratings data for all of last week.
It’s not uncommon for Nielsen to delay a round of ratings, but those delays typically last a day or less. An extended period with no data and no clear picture of when that data will arrive is much rarer.
One network TV executive tells Media Life, “I started covering the ratings as a reporter back in 1981 and I’d say it’s only been about three times over that span they’ve had this kind of major delay that extended for days.”
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