Nielsen Agrees to Allow for Audit Before Shift to LPMs

Jun 28, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Nielsen Media Research has agreed to allow time to have an audit done in new Local People Meter markets before the meter-only LPM service replaces the old diary-meter service in each market.

The agreement does not capitulate to those client-critics who have recently gone public with demands that Nielsen not roll out any new LPM services before they have received full accreditation from the Media Rating Council.

However, the concession is significant because it likely would translate into a three-month pre-launch test period during which the new samples would run along with the old samples. Nielsen recently adjusted its timetable to allow three months’ preliminary LPM operation in Dallas and Detroit, which are scheduled to make the switch to LPM later this year, and Atlanta, which is scheduled to switch in 2006.

Having an MRC audit available to MRC members prior to launch “will add an important level of transparency to the process,” Nielsen said in an update to clients this week.

Other signs of progress were also reported on initiatives Nielsen announced in February:

  • The on-time launch Monday of new NPower 4.0 modules that will improve the accessibility and analysis of demographic data. Clients are being trained in the new application.

  • A “substantial” improvement in in-tab results (usable data) from diaries kept during the May sweeps, when all but one market came in at or over target. According to the client update, the final national in-tab results were 17 percent over target, while unweighted in-tab diary results for Hispanic, African American and under-age-35 households showed “substantial improvement” over the February sweeps. The client update said, “Overall unweighted diary penetration increased 4 percent for under-age-35 households, 20 percent for African Americans and 42 percent for Hispanics. We are also on track to increase the under-age-35 head-of-household unweighted index to 80 percent for the November 2005 survey.”

    Meanwhile, Nielsen also reported on actions that have been taken in response to the evaluation released last March by the Independent Task Force on Television Measurement.

    The 19-member task force, chaired by former Congresswoman Cardiss Collins, worked for more than eight months to evaluate Nielsen’s measurement of African American, Hispanic and Latino and Asian American audiences.

    The group’s recommendations for improvement in Nielsen’s measurement of minorities covered LPM sampling, field operations, fault rates, corporate diversity and communications.

    Among the areas where Nielsen said it has made notable progress in implementing the task force recommendations:

  • Attacking the fault rates with personal coaching, performance-based incentives, proactive phone line installation, field staffing increases and the publication of a quarterly report on progress in reducing fault rates in Local People Meter markets.

  • The translation of written materials into the preferred languages of sample homes, cultural-sensitivity training for field staff and the tailoring of Nielsen’s introductory video for Asian audiences.

  • The creation of an internal Nielsen diversity council that will review a number of Nielsen initiatives, from leadership commitments and accountability to supplier diversity. The diversity council, which met this month for the first time, will continue to meet on a monthly basis.