The Nielsen Company is providing an additional $2.5 million to the Council for Research Excellence (CRE), an independent forum of Nielsen clients that was formed to conduct its own methodological research. The CRE was established in 2005 by Nielsen as an industry “think tank” with an initial $2.5 million grant. This new grant brings the total amount invested in the CRE by Nielsen to $10 million dollars.
Nielsen Company spokesperson Gary Holmes tells RBR-TVBR the $2.5 million is funding for the next year—the same amount they spend yearly. While CRE decides what it will spend the investment on, Holmes thinks a major thrust will be set-top box measurement. “They’ve got some good projects in the pipeline and we think they’re very worthwhile to fund. At some point they’ve got an announcement coming about some new research findings. Overall, this [investment] shows a continuing commitment on our part to fund basic methodological research.”
The CRE is governed by a Board of Directors, comprised of 40 senior research professionals, mostly clients of Nielsen representing various industry interests, including advertisers, broadcast networks, cable networks and operators, broadcast stations, syndicators, and mainstream and ethnic agencies. A smaller working Steering Committee oversees operations, regularly caucuses with industry segments, and makes recommendations to the Board. The CRE also maintains several smaller working committees addressing particular research issues, including: Media Consumption and Engagement; Non-Response, Set Top Box and Universe Estimates.
Since its creation the Council for Research Excellence has unveiled research in the following areas:
The Video Mapping Study, introduced to the industry in March 2009, dispelled several popular notions about Americans multi-media use. One important finding was that Baby Boomers age 25-54 consume the most video media, while the study also confirmed that traditional “live” television remains the dominant choice among consumers. Discussions are currently underway regarding a potential follow-up to this study.
Another major study on Non-Response Bias to understand the characteristics and habits of people who decline to participate in Nielsen’s People Meter and Diary measurements. Consequently, smarter decisions can now be made about allocating future resources to impact the accuracy of Nielsen ratings data.
Looking ahead, the CRE is actively working on two other major studies:
The Set Top Box subcommittee is funding a Set Top Box Study to learn more about the strengths, limits and potential applications of these data.
The Media Universe Estimates subcommittee is funding a study to prepare a comprehensive methodology for developing population standards for ownership of various types of media equipment such as televisions, computers, and Digital Video Recorders, etc).