Nielsens possible loss of its accreditation by the Media Rating Council as early as this week might sustain greater adoption of alternative measurement currencies that use advanced data and analytics instead of the traditional panel-based studies the measurement giant is known for.
Nielsen has long been accused of undercounting TELEVISION viewership. Recently, networks have expressed concern that the businesss decision to stop sending out field representatives to Nielsen houses throughout the pandemic tainted the numbers. The MRC discovered and released a review that Nielsen undercounted audiences ages 18 to 49 by 2% to 6% during February.
Recently, Nielsen asked the MRC– which certifies audience measurement services used by purchasers and sellers — to put its accreditation on hiatus in order to attend to problems with its panels and focus on the advancement of Nielsen ONE, its media measurement currency across direct, CTV, mobile and desktop, which is anticipated to introduce start in Q4 2022.
The MRCs TV Committee turned down the demand for a temporary pause and voted to revoke Nielsens accreditation last Thursday, Adweek reported. The MRCs board of directors was anticipated to announce a last choice Wednesday or Thursday, according to someone AdExchanger spoke with.

Keeping up with the times?
Nielsen is the dominant currency networks transact on, and its scores are frequently utilized to set upfront and scatter market pricing. The Video Advertising Bureau– a TELEVISION market trade group that last month contacted the MRC to suspend Nielsens accreditation– claimed the underreporting cost TELEVISION networks anywhere from $468 million to $2.8 billion in national TV ad income over 12 months.
VAB President and CEO Sean Cunningham said the difficulty to Nielsens accreditation sends an industry-wide message that emerging suppliers of audience measurement and currency will need to lay their cards on the table.
” This is a really crucial step … in the interest of disclosure and openness with third-party measurement,” according to Cunningham. “The battle has been transparency disclosure and friction-free access to data and analysis.”
Networks would still continue to utilize Nielsens measurement services without the MRCs stamp of approval, but an absence of accreditation would further deteriorate confidence in a business that has actually long been synonymous with conventional TELEVISION measurement, according to numerous people AdExchanger spoke to.
” Nielsens undercount has damaged trust for purchasers and considerably elevated the requirement for industry-wide openness and change,” stated Jo Kinsella, president of ad measurement company TVSquared. “Buyers are now acutely knowledgeable about the drawbacks of counting on a sole entity as the single source of reality.”
A call for options
Sellers and purchasers are shouting ever more loudly for an alternative to legacy TELEVISION currency. As audiences consume content throughout multiple gadgets, it needs services to determine how frequently individuals view ads across linear, streaming and digital in order to get a unified view into how advertisement invest carries out.
” This does open greater approval of brand-new types of measurement,” said Jane Clarke, CEO and managing director of CIMM, a coalition for media measurement, including that Nielsen has actually been sluggish to innovate. “I think the networks are losing self-confidence that they wish to wait another year for Nielsen to even introduce the first stage [of Nielsen ONE] and much of these tools. And on top of it, now the basic panel that theyre constructing everything on is flawed. Theres other companies out there that are making more progress faster.”
That would consist of business such as VideoAmp, Comscore, iSpot and 605, she added. These gamers use census, smart TELEVISION, set-top box, ACR, first-party data and panel sources other than Nielsen to develop cross-screen measurement capabilities as alternatives to tradition TV currency.
VideoAmp President Michael Parkes said that Nielsen hasnt kept up with the times.
” People dont take in advertising and material the very same method they did 5 years ago, not to mention 50 years ago,” Parkes said. “The whole market has actually been feeling it, however COVID definitely accelerated the need to discover a more advanced solution for media measurement.”
Nielsen pushes back
Nielsen pushed back against claims that it has not been innovating. Chief Data and Research Officer Mainak Mazumdar stated that the hiatus would allow it to advance its own unified measurement solution, enhance its streaming offerings and enhance its panels and “group representation.”
” This hiatus enables everyone to go back and find the very best method to evolve measurement in a manner that will benefit the whole market as tech and audiences develop– we all need the very best estimates of real audience behaviors,” Mazumdar stated in a declaration. “So, actually, we concur with the VAB on something– the need for change!”
Mazumdar added that publishers ignored panelist security throughout COVID which while Nielsen welcomes MRC oversight during the audit, “we anticipate an accreditation process driven by actual data science, not members voting in their self-interest.”
One agency exec who declined to be determined estimated that 80% of Nielsens revenue originates from the sell-side.
” The reality is that the cash manages decisioning and the networks have the money– and they money Nielsen,” the exec said. “Whats really distressed the sell-side– which is the VAB– is that the rankings have decreased considerably.”
Still, the officer said networks waited till after the upfronts to blast Nielsen because low scores enabled record double-digit rate increases to compensate for reduced viewership.
” You waited as a seller to call this out after you used the ratings to work out enormous rate boosts,” the officer included.
A level playing field
Nielsen possibly losing its MRC stamp of approval might press networks and holding business to make surefire offers based on their deal with other cross-platform measurement service providers who do not have MRC accreditation.
” The networks have actually been kind of toying with a lot of the brand-new alternative forms of measurement and theyve been utilizing them for attribution or preparation, however they had not really specified of ensuring any purchases based upon currency other than Nielsen– maybe a couple of,” Clarke said. “Now, theres more openness to doing that. The networks are, in varying ways, dealing with different suppliers to create services for their clients and integrate various information sets.”
Cunningham said that in the recent upfronts, networks utilized data sets from emerging measurement suppliers as secondary warranties in addition to Nielsen, a trend that he said will continue to accelerate.
” With the elimination of accreditation, what we have is a more level playing field in terms of the consideration for whats going to be the starting point for negotiations and what the databases need to be to develop currency,” he stated.
Clarke pointed to tech presentations made by Disney and NBCUniversal ahead of this years upfronts, which included big declarations around measurement services. NBCU, for example, announced it was inducing VideoAmp and Snowflake as extra partners.
NBCU presented its One Platform in 2015 to let advertisers purchase, determine and enhance their projects throughout NBCUs digital and linear properties. In 2018, it also introduced CFlight, a cross-platform, merged advertisement currency metric.
In addition to Nielsen, NBCU is also dealing with Comscore, iSpot and Data Plus Math– all concentrated on measurement and addressable services in streaming.
” We are extremely confident and clear in our path towards measurement self-reliance,” NBCU spokesman Joe Benarroch told AdExchanger. “Theres no other way that we would have been able to confidently present the One Platform trading design and have more than 90% adoption in this last upfront if we werent dealing with other measurement homes beyond Nielsen, considering they dont have cross-media metrics.”
Bharad Ramesh, executive director of research and investment analytics at GroupM, stated that over the next several years, the majority of TV transactions will move far from demo-based buys.
” A significant part of TELEVISION as we understand it will be transacted the way digital is today– it will be addressable and data informed,” he said. “We are already getting ready for an era where scores are not the currency by which customers buy and sell media– and we feel that the environment will continue to develop rapidly to enable us to do so.”

Nielsen has long been implicated of undercounting TV viewership. The MRC introduced a review and found that Nielsen undercounted viewers ages 18 to 49 by 2% to 6% during February.
” This does open up higher acceptance of brand-new kinds of measurement,” stated Jane Clarke, CEO and handling director of CIMM, a union for media measurement, including that Nielsen has actually been sluggish to innovate.” The networks have been kind of toying with a lot of the brand-new alternative forms of measurement and theyve been using them for attribution or planning, but they had not really gotten to the point of ensuring any purchases based on currency other than Nielsen– possibly a few,” Clarke said. The networks are, in varying ways, working with various suppliers to put together services for their clients and integrate various information sets.”