Nielsen Explains Short Delay In TV Diary Displacement


The end of diary-based methodology will be coming just a little bit later than anticipated for local TV markets that are set to begin receiving electronic viewer data as their exclusive ratings currency.


Nielsen issued a statement on the matter, which we are pleased to share with you.

It doesn’t fully explain the delay.

Noting that it is “in the midst of rolling out a series of sophisticated solutions that will transform the way that local TV is measured,” Nielsen simply states in a matter-of-fact manner that it will shift its go-live date for the new local currency in markets formerly measured by diaries by one month, to July 2018.

“This additional window will allow clients the opportunity to evaluate impact data, and will allow Nielsen the opportunity to make further enhancements to the new methodology,” it said.

However, this suggests that the end of hand-scribed diaries after some six decades still has its hiccups.

Nielsen’s statement added that the nation’s dominant ratings provider is “grateful” for the support and patience of our clients as it works together “to bring advanced measurement to local markets.”

The abandonment of paper diaries and shift to the set-top box and meters as the exclusive television consumption data tools was first brought to light some 12 years ago. The PPM was a big component of this push, and led Nielsen to acquire Arbitron — giving Nielsen a coveted device that can detect media consumption regardless of location, and with richer data than a home-based meter. In smaller markets, electronic data will use STBs; Nielsen Audio continues to use diaries, which still results in a cacophony of cat calls from time to time as sample sizes and language weighting cloud twice-yearly data.

Meanwhile, PPM markets as large as Tampa-St. Petersburg and Los Angeles have been in the headlines lately for panelist problems. The Los Angeles situation is particularly troubling. Earlier this month, removal of four homes from the Los Angeles Portable People Meter (PPM) panel by Nielsen led the nation’s dominant audience measurement company to re-release no less than seven months of Nielsen Audio ratings for the No. 2 market in the U.S.

This followed an August 2016 affair in which 35 households were booted from the L.A. market panel.

Despite the challenges for Nielsen, the company insists that the end result of this TV ratings shift “will be complete and inclusive demographic estimates 24/7/365 for every local market via electronic devices and return path data, and the end of diary measurement across 137 markets.”