Friday, May 23, 2008

Insight Into Nielsen

Many thanks to Rich at Copywrite Ink for his insight into Nielsen ratings.

"It’s not a great year to be Nielsen. Every time the company attempts to move forward with Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement — A2/M2 — someone is ready to stop them: clients, competition, consumers.

For Project Apollo, a three-year joint project with Arbitron to monitor buying and radio-television habits of 5,000 households, it was clients. They did not want to pay for the results. Consumers weren’t thrilled with the number of tasks they were asked to perform either. It’s not as cool to be a Nielsen family anymore.

Diane Mermigas, editor-at-large at MediaPost, recently called Nielsen the “about as inane an advertising value as can ever be justified” in her article about other initiatives to find effective measures. She’s not alone.

The differences between Nielsen ratings and other measures continue to grow, more and more shows are seeing 20 percent to 25 percent ratings gains when DVR viewing is calculated and some other are shows doubling their viewership online. It’s easier to get the numbers from TiVo or local cable companies that can count everyone.

Anyone who has a show facing cancellation (most recently, the show Moonlight) is continuing to send Nielsen a message — Nielsen might be confident in the rating system, but they are not. It’s a mounting public relations problem that Nielsen has yet to successfully address. For many consumers, Nielsen’s truncated research, not actual viewers, is the only reason their show was cancelled."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Nielsen and PR

"Nielsen Co. executives are starting a public lobbying campaign to argue that the ratings giant is fulfilling job creation goals, despite recent layoffs, while also offering an apology for mishandling recent cuts.

The public relations effort comes amid a high-stakes project at Nielsen to balance investments in its Oldsmar technical and research center while cutting costs through layoffs and by hiring outside contractors for some positions.

Nielsen is trying to navigate upheaval in its core business of measuring TV ratings, an industry where Nielsen has more competitors than any time in its past. Cable companies, for instance, now can offer direct ratings data from television set-top boxes, and the advent of digital video recorders is putting pressure on Nielsen to better track whether people skip commercials.

At the same time, Nielsen clients such as NBC or Procter & Gamble increasingly want the company to measure audiences who watch media online, on cell phones, in video games and elsewhere - leading Nielsen to invest heavily in new technology to track that viewing."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

They're Back

"Okay folks, here’s your chance to get some advice from Jericho’s #1 gossip mavens. Do you have a question for Margie and Edna? Submit your questions, and Margie and Edna will tackle your toughest problems and concerns.

Send your questions to sweat1951@rock.com. Put “Ask Margie and Edna” in the subject line. We reserve the right to edit questions for length, spelling, etc. Please bear in mind, it’s possible that not all questions will be selected to be answered. Keep watching this space, maybe Margie and Edna will answer your question next!

Disclaimer: This is for entertainment purposes only. "Margie" and "Edna" are not real people, so please don't send us questions about serious issues. And please don't send us questions that you'd be better off asking a professional, as we are not qualified to answer such questions"

^^^^ The questions do not have to be about Jericho only.^^^^

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

ClueLes Moonves and Nielsen Ratings

Can you say ClueLes? This man is the head of CBS? Quincy Smith sees more people switching to the Internet yet CBS cancels Jericho which had so many people watching online? I think ClueLes Moonves let his wounded ego get in the way of Jericho making him tons of money online.

"CBS's CEO Leslie Moonves told reporters on a conference call that acquiring access to CNet's large online audience in order to distribute media content from CBS was "a large part" of CBS' motivation in going after the San Francisco-based online company.

"Our idea is to have our content wherever, whenever you can get it, and adding CNet just makes that happen faster," Moonves said.

Moonves said he saw opportunities for distributing CBS news, music and other content on CNet's online outlets, and also for tapping CNet's significant online advertising sales operation to boost over ad growth for the media company.

CBS's chief of interactive business Quincy Smith has been moving aggressively to find new online outlets for its entertainment programming as more people shift their media consumption from traditional outlets like TV and radio to the Internet."

"Practically everyone has heard the terms 'TV ratings' or 'Nielsen ratings', but very few people, even in the entertainment industry really understand how these ratings work.

Many people think of Nielsen as a public service, but this is far from the truth. Nielsen provides data only to those who pay for it. Nielsen's clients are, for the most part, television networks and the companies who advertise on those networks.

Nielsen has been under fire recently, being blamed for the cancellation of some television shows that have very faithful, if not huge audiences. Most notable are is the recently canceled CBS show Jericho. This show was canceled after its first season, but a well-organized effort, which saw tens of thousands of pounds of peanuts sent to the network execs at CBS resulted in the show being picked up for a second season, only to be canceled yet again due to Nielsen numbers which would look great to the vast majority of networks, but which CBS felt simply weren't good enough."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Nielsen: The Monopoly

Here is a most interesting article that I had not seen before yesterday. It's testimony from Pat Mullen of Tribune Broadcasting to Congress in 2005. The bill, the Fair Ratings Act, shows the need to change the way Nielsen operates. The bill is described as "A bill to provide for the accuracy of television ratings services, and for other purposes."

"My name is Pat Mullen. Our company, Tribune Broadcasting, operates 26 major market television stations located in 15 states from coast to coast, including stations in 8 of the 10 largest markets.

Mr. Chairman, I regret to say that the measurement system we have today in the largest television markets is not worthy of public trust. It does not have the trust of our company or that of more than a dozen other responsible broadcasters.

The problem, Mr. Chairman, is that the keys to our success -- our ratings -- are held by a monopoly. When Nielsen had a competitor, its service and its response to client concerns were substantially better than they are today. In the absence of competition, we are left to plead for fair treatment and reliable results. Time and time again, Nielsen has turned us away.

We have no choice but to do business with Nielsen. Ratings are the currency on which the advertising business operates. And despite recent challenges, our company has always had a good relationship with Nielsen. So we are here today reluctantly, but with a sense of urgency.

Sampling issues abound, including problems with response rates, in-tab representation and fault rates. For example:

* New York's LPM response rate averaged 25.3 percent for the week ending July 3, 2005. This means that three out of every four households initially designated as sample households refused installation of a people meter in their home or accepted a meter but did not contribute any viewing data.
* Young men ages 18-34 have been persistently under-represented in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Fault rates for men 18-34 generally are twice as high as those for men ages 55+ in LPM samples.
* Fault rates remain unacceptably high for important audience segments such as African Americans and Hispanics despite new coaching initiatives. On the average day in New York for the week ending July 10, the viewing choices of nearly one-third of the black and Hispanic men ages 18-34 in the LPM sample were not reflected in the ratings.
* Chicago sample data for the week ending July 10th show that almost one-third of the 443 African Americans installed in the sample were not in tab — meaning their television viewing was not counted in the ratings.
* Households of five persons or more have been persistently under-represented in the total samples in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston. In New York, for the week ending July 10, the viewing choices of more than one in four of the black and Hispanic households of 5 or more persons in the LPM sample were not reflected in the ratings.
* Fault rates for households of five or more are generally two to three times as high as in one-person households."

What happened to this bill? Read here.