On March 2 RBR + TVBR reported that, according to noted radio programming consultant Randy Kabrich, two Nielsen Audio panelists in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater market singlehandedly helped the audio stream for Beasley Media Group‘s Tropical WYUU-FM “Maxima 92.5” finish at No. 1 among Persons 18-34 in the January 2017 weekly PPM ratings.
On Monday (3/13), it became known that the two panelists, representing one household, have been removed as Nielsen Audio participants.
The news came from Beasley — in an announcement that affirmed its non-involvement in the matter.
“Our company and other broadcasters play no role in selecting panelists and households for inclusion in PPM data gathering,” said Beasley Media Group COO Brian Beasley. “In the case of the Tampa household that was removed from the PPM panel, it was Nielsen that chose to have two different users in that household be PPM participants. Most notably, we do not and have never had any relationship or contact with the household or users removed from Nielsen’s Tampa panel of PPM holders.”
Beasley did note, however, that the removal of the heavy streamers of Maxima 92.5 “adversely impacts ratings” for the Spanish-language station.
As noted by Kabrich in a blog post appearing March 2, a Hispanic Female aged 18-24 with a 32-hour Time Spent Listening (TSL) log and a Hispanic Male 25-34 with a 20-hour TSL log are the catalysts for the unprecedented ratings results.
This came with Cume of roughly 10,000, Kabrich states.
Kabrich theorized that a smart home device such as an Amazon Echo contributed to the abnormally high audio streaming — something that has sparked a series of discussions about how Alexa could impact PPM-based audio measurement.
Following the release by Beasley of its statement, which made the removal of the two PPM panelists in Tampa publicly known, Nielsen issued a statement suggesting the household didn’t get enough guidance on how to wear the meter.
“In early February, we identified a household in Tampa whose meter wearing compliance warranted additional coaching,” a Nielsen spokesperson said. “Per our standard operating procedure, we conducted an on-site visit of the household and provided subsequent training to ensure proper usage of the PPM device. Following the training visit, the household’s meter wearing compliance behavior did not change and per our quality assurance procedures, we removed the home effective with the start of the March survey.”
Originally, Nielsen defended the integrity of its PPM panel. In a statement received March 2, a Nielsen spokesperson told RBR + TVBR, “Nielsen has a series of rigorous compliance controls designed to ensure that PPM panelists meet eligibility criteria and their credited listening is valid. The panelists that contributed listening to WYUU-IF (WYUU-FM’s Internet Stream) in January met our compliance standards. We take the accuracy of our data seriously and will monitor the situation closely.”
However, according to data obtained by RBR + TVBR, the two panelists’ audio streaming of WYUU continued to present issues with Nielsen Audio subscribers in Tampa, with data for February 2017 Week 2 continuing to reflect extremely high levels of audio exposure. For the week, the audio stream ranked as the No. 3 station in the market among Persons 12+ from 7pm-midnight, Monday-Friday. It was also No. 1 in the market among Persons 18-34 in every daypart — including weekends, where the stream surged from a tie for 16th place.
Tampa is one of the 26 PPM markets that are accredited by the Media Rating Council.
RBR + TVBR OBSERVATION: ¿Hola, Alexa? Hay un arroz con mango en la bahia de Tampa? Loosely translated from Caribbean slang, that means, “What the heck is going on in Tampa Bay?” Clearly, two individuals highly impacted the Nielsen Audio PPM ratings for an MRC-accredited market. But, is the issue the panelists, or the sample size?