That Nielsen radio snafu may be worse than it appeared
The Media Rating Council says it's withholding accreditation this month
December 21, 2016
Anytime there’s the slightest hint of a problem with Nielsen ratings, media buyers and planners get on edge.
They depend on the currency to get their clients the advertising they need, and when issues arise, they worry they’re not getting their money’s worth.
And so it was when Nielsen experienced a connectivity issue during the first week of its December radio survey. At first the measurement team dismissed it as a minor glitch.
But the Media Rating Council, which accredits ratings for Nielsen and other measurement companies, apparently isn’t so sure.
The MRC said yesterday it will withhold accreditation for the December 2016 Nielsen Audio survey, citing concerns about how the outage impacted the monthly numbers.
“Accreditation of the December 2016 PPM service reports will be withheld until such time that Nielsen Audio has fully addressed MRC’s inquiries and has completed additional analyses requested by MRC that demonstrate to MRC’s satisfaction that the PPM service disruption that affected, at minimum, the first week of the December reporting period, has been addressed and appropriately disclosed in a manner that is fully consistent with the MRC Minimum Standards for Media Rating Research,” read a statement posted on the MRC website.
The MRC went on to say that it’s not satisfied with the answers Nielsen has given in response to questions from the council about the outage.
“Therefore MRC and its radio committee and board of directors are unable to conclude as yet on this matter,” says the statement.
Nielsen: We addressed the problem
The MRC says Nielsen is cooperating and that it will issue accreditation if “we receive responses and appropriate analyses of the impacted data that we deem satisfactory to address these concerns. We will update the marketplace at a future time should this situation change and we believe these issues have been sufficiently addressed to reinstate MRC accreditation of the December 2016 PPM estimates.”
Nielsen says it disagrees with the decision to withhold accreditation. It says it looked into the data quality and found it held up following the connectivity problem.
“Following the PPM connectivity issue during week one of the December survey, Nielsen’s Data Science team conducted a rigorous analysis of data quality and we firmly stand behind the December PPM monthly estimates,” said a Nielsen statement provided to Media Life.
“The sample performance for the December report is inline with the standards that have been used in prior months for the 26 accredited markets. While we disagree with the MRC’s decision to withhold accreditation of the December PPM monthly data, Nielsen remains committed to the MRC accreditation process.”
It has media buyers and planners wondering what MRC thinks is missing and whether this is a one-time thing or potentially a problem that could continue.
They’ll likely have to wait until the new year to find out – this isn’t exactly a time when most people get a lot of work done.
Below is a statement from Nielsen:
“Following the PPM connectivity issue during week one of the December survey, Nielsen’s Data Science team conducted a rigorous analysis of data quality and we firmly stand behind the December PPM monthly estimates. The sample performance for the December report is inline with the standards that have been used in prior months for the 26 accredited markets. While we disagree with the MRC’s decision to withhold accreditation of the December PPM monthly data, Nielsen remains committed to the MRC accreditation process.”
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