Mediagistic Blog

What Happened to Nielsen’s Accreditation?

Elani Merrick - Media Associate
Elani Merrick

Nielsen’s national and local television ratings have long been considered the gold standard in the media industry. However, Nielsen has recently lost its accreditation which portends a major shift in the overarching media ecosystem.

What Happened?

The MRC (Media Rating Council) responded to Nielsen’s request for hiatus by suspending accreditation for Nielsen’s Local TV Rating Service and National TV Rating Service. The MRC’s accreditation establishes the “gold standard” for rating services, which conveys a company’s accuracy and trustworthiness.

The MRC cited Nielsen’s decision to include broadband-only homes in its local measurements using the methodology established for national measurements since 2013 as one of the primary reasons for suspending local TV accreditation. The MRC also indicated that Nielsen needs to take the following actions to restore its accreditation:

  • Restore panel size and maintenance to target levels.
  • Provide greater transparency into the process for communicating and recording changes in methods.
  • Test and strengthen business continuity and recovery processes.

What Does Losing Accreditation Mean?

Nielsen’s loss of accreditation greatly impacts its reputation as a reliable source of information. By revoking accreditation, the MRC is essentially stating that Nielsen’s ratings are not being measured and reported accurately.

Media vendors and advertisers have long relied upon Nielsen for advertising-related research. However, the media industry will likely need to adjust its approach to data collection and evaluation in light of this change in Nielsen’s status.

What is Nielsen’s Plan to Move Forward?

Nielsen plans to aggressively modify its operations and protocols to restore its MRC accreditation. The company was already aware of some of the shortcomings in the organization’s reporting, due in part to the lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is for this reason that Nielsen proactively requested a hiatus to address these problems.

Moving forward, Nielsen’s action plan includes:

  • Accelerating panel recovery efforts to meet a contract installation target of 41,600 homes by the first quarter of 2022 and expand the sample size by 15% by the second quarter of 2023.
  • Working with the MRC to create a subcommittee that Nielsen will communicate with regarding methodological or procedural changes.
  • Increasing quality control functions for data input and output.
  • Refining universe estimates to ensure that cable, over-the-air, and broadband-only homes are properly represented in the panel.
  • Evolving measurements to create tracking models that are appropriate for new and emerging ways of consuming media.
  • Ensuring the proper representation of all people in audience measurements.
  • Improving comparability to deliver parallel data by the fourth quarter of 2022.

How is Mediagistic Responding?

Mediagistic has always put our clients first and will continue to do so as the industry evolves and changes. We take an unbiased position and always put forth the necessary efforts to ensure our recommendations are as accurate as possible.

Though Nielsen’s loss of accreditation indicates a significant shift in media analytics and reporting, the company still plans to provide data to the media industry. At this time, no other competitors have MRC accreditation, so the industry must exercise its own discretion in monitoring and evaluating data sources.

Have questions about a media campaign that you’re currently planning or running for your business? Reach out to Mediagistic’s expert media planning team today, and we’ll be happy to look under the hood and provide recommendations.

Elani Merrick is a Media Associate at Mediagistic. A recent graduate of the University of South Florida, Elani graduated with a BA in Advertising and Public Relations and has experience working in marketing with USF Health and Wellness promoting university resources through various marketing methods. Currently within the media team Elani assists with research and planning of various medias for client campaigns.
Featured image via Getty Images

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