It was only a matter of time.
The Media Rating Council on Wednesday saw its Board of Directors vote in favor of a suspension of the MRC’s accreditation of Nielsen‘s national television service.
It is also removing the current accreditation hiatus status designation from Nielsen’s Local People Meter and Set Meter Markets and will suspend accreditation for these markets.
In a statement released midday Wednesday, the MRC said the changes will become effective in mid-September.
The changes come following the August 12 notification by MRC to Nielsen that the possibility of a suspension action for its National Television service had come to fruition. The MRC followed up with a similar warning to Nielsen for its Local Market service on August 20.
Regarding the Board’s decisions concerning the Local Market services, the Board chose to end the hiatus status that had existed for those markets since January 2021 after Nielsen’s confirmation to MRC on August 17 of its intention to add Broadband-Only (BBO) homes to its local panels in October 2021.
“Based on continuing issues with the Local Market services, some of which parallel those of the National Television service, as well as the Board’s assessment of Nielsen’s ability to appropriately integrate BBO viewing at a local market level at this time, the Board additionally suspended the accreditation for the Local Markets as well,” the MRC says.
Commenting on the decision, MRC Executive Director and CEO George W. Ivie said, “While we are disappointed that the situation has come to this, we believe these are the proper actions for the MRC to take at this time.” He added that the MRC’s Board of Directors, which includes advertisers, agencies, and media companies of all types, “is strongly unified” in its position on the matter.
Meanwhile, Ivie reiterated that the MRC “stands committed in our willingness to work with Nielsen toward the goal of being able to restore accreditation to these important services at the earliest possible time, and it is our hope that Nielsen likewise will continue to engage with MRC and its clients in pursuit of that goal.”
In response to RBR+TVBR‘s request for comment, Nielsen provided a prepared statement released at 2:30pm Eastern. According to a Nielsen spokesperson, “The Media Rating Council (MRC) responded to Nielsen’s request for a hiatus in accreditation with a vote to suspend our National TV Ratings service, as well as our Local TV Ratings service. While we are disappointed with this outcome, the suspension will not impact the usability of our data.”
Nielsen added that its data “remains the currency of choice for media companies, advertisers and agencies,” and that it is “committed to the audit process.”
Nielsen continues, “During this pause in accreditation we will work with the MRC on resolving this suspension. We will also take the opportunity to focus on innovating our core products and continue to deliver data that clients can rely on, ultimately creating a better media future for the entire industry.”