Nielsen pulls November NY data over Hurricane Sandy


NielsenNielsen has begun notifying some customers late last week that it would not release November survey data for the New York DMA. The ratings giant says some customers would still have access to some of the data for specific days in November. Other markets are affected as well. Nielsen told us that clients are still receiving daily data for the days that were unaffected: “It’s not like all of November is out…It’s very obvious why we can’t post data on those days that [the storm] impacted. The other days are fine and met the minimum requirements…Clients received daily data before the storm and as of this past Friday we re-started releasing overnight data.”

Nielsen also informed clients that it is still evaluating which days will be excluded from the survey data it reports for four other markets — Philadelphia, Boston Cleveland-Akron and Baltimore – which are also part of Nielsen’s local people meter samples. Those local people meter panels are also part of Nielsen’s 20,000 national people meter sample, and add up to more than 13% of Nielsen’s total national sample.

The loss of Nielsen households happened when Nielsen homes in metered markets lost power and the batteries on their electronic meters drained, or when homes in the sample were destroyed or the families living there were relocated, said a MediaPost story.

Nielsen gave RBR-TVBR the following statements on the situation and answered a few questions:

“Hurricane Sandy has impacted much of the United States East Coast and has left extensive flooding, wind damage and power outages along its path. After any significant storms, the number of households or persons that are included in Nielsen’s tabulation of the TV audience estimates can be affected, typically as a result of power outages. Nielsen maintains rigorous policies, guidelines and thresholds to ensure continuity and high-quality ratings in the event of an incident such as Hurricane Sandy.

Because of Hurricane Sandy, the in-tab levels for Local Metered Samples and the National People Meter Sample were lower than normal and evaluated by our Measurement Science department.  Certain local markets were withheld but the National People Meter Sample passed its established threshold.  We continue to monitor and evaluate these in-tab levels for any geographic distortion.

We have made a decision not to release November 2012 data for NY.  We continue to evaluate other markets and will provide an update on any days that will be excluded.  Metered/Diary and Diary-only markets will not be evaluated until after the market closes following the end of the November Survey period.  Other affected LPM markets, including Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland and Philadelphia, are also being evaluated and we expect to communicate days excluded from the November 2012 survey by next week.”

We also asked: Are you getting any pushback from stations or agencies? Is this going to have a major effect on the marketplace?

“I think there are a lot of unanswered questions that we’re getting answers from, from measurement science. We’ll have more for our clients in the next few days and couple of weeks. But this is something that is a top priority for us.”

Pulling an entire month of survey data for the nation’s largest market, removing some from others, and potentially needing to revise national TV ratings and universe estimates are a first and come at a bad time — the start of a new season and the November sweeps.

See the MediaPost story here