The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) has sent a blistering letter to Nielsen Media Research decrying a planned change in the way Nielsen will measure local TV measurement, Advertising Age reports.
The dispute revolves around whether digital video recorder usage should be measured. Presently, in local TV measurement by Nielsen, many agencies base much of their price negotiation on the live TV viewing metric. This is the metric Nielsen says it will be eliminating. In the national TV ratings, by contrast, the standard has become C3, which is live viewing plus 3-days of watching shows (and commercials) recorded on DVRs.
Nielsen is planning to change its local measurement to live viewing plus same day viewing of DVRs. This move is also backed by local TV stations, since it will increase the ratings of most shows.
According to the Ad Age article, " ‘If we went from live to live-plus-same-day, which is what Nielsen is proposing to replace the live stream with in prime time, [for] the first couple of weeks of the season, the ratings would go up about 13%. But we know of that 13%, 60% to 70% of it is time-skipped,’ said Rino Scanzoni, chief investment officer at [media agency holding company] GroupM. ‘Our clients would be paying for program exposures that are not generating commercial exposure.’"
Scanzoni said "further action against Nielsen could be possible," according to the report.
In the letter to Nielsen, which was signed by Marc Goldstein, who is the president and North American CEO of GroupM and the chair of the 4A’s Media Policy Committee, it said, in part,
"Nielsen can publish whatever new forms of data it desires. However, you must restore the "live" stream which you have elected to eliminate as a buying option for the media community. We ask that you get out of the way of the negotiating process and let buyers and sellers operate on a free market basis."
The full letter is reproduced in the Ad Age article.