Nielsen, Still Trying to Replace Paper Diaries, Receives Complaints About the New System — Here’s What the Ratings Firm Will Do About It

Sep 3, 2015  •  Post A Comment

Nielsen has responded to complaints about its new system that will replace paper diaries — a system consisting largely of newly developed “code readers” — with the announcement that it is delaying implementation of the upgrade.

TVNewsCheck reports that the ratings firm is pushing back the launch, originally scheduled for Oct. 1, to January 2016.

The company notified clients Wednesday that it is making the move in response to “significant feedback” from its customers. Much of the concern is focused on so-called “viewer assignment” methodology, the report notes.

This new methodology is meant to “derive demographic data for stations in smaller markets from larger local people-meter markets, some located far away,” TVNewsCheck reports.

In its notice to clients, obtained by TVNewsCheck, Nielsen said: “Many of our clients have noted that they need more time to review the Impact Data that we have shared. After significant feedback from our clients, we are moving the implementation date to Dec. 31, the start of the January measurement period. This extension will allow for additional analysis time and will also align with the start of our National Panel Expansion efforts and the new year.”

Concerns have been raised about the new methodology not only by stations, but also by the Media Rating Council.

“Under the new system, the demo data is combined with viewing data collected from passive electronic meters — set meters in some markets and, at least initially, newly developed ‘code readers’ in 14 other markets,” the report notes.

The MRC is reportedly in the process of deciding whether to accredit the new system, and was previously expected to announce its decision in late September, TVNewsCheck notes.

Meanwhile, some station groups, such as Meredith and Raycom, are asking Nielsen for an explanation of the new methodology “because a number of stations are experiencing ratings shortfalls and ‘variabilities’ in test data produced under the new system that they don’t understand,” the story reports.



  1. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon can deliver programming to your home or phone or computer and tell who is watching. why is it that Nielsen still has trouble delivering basic ratings info? Apple TV will be delivering content and telling who is watching before Nielsen figures it out.

  2. …And why is it that if you drop your toast it always falls buttered-side-down?

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