Nielsen seeking comments on local data streams


The Nielsen Company is proposing to make Live + Same Day the primary ratings data stream in Local People Meter (LPM) and Set Meter markets, but first it wants more feedback from local stations, ad agencies and other clients. The plan is to make Live + Same Day the primary stream, effective in December, with some other changes as well.

There had been some discontent since Live + 3 Days was implemented for Overnights in LPM markets in January, and before that as Live + 3 was touted as the new industry standard for ad buys.

Following a June 25th meeting with a broad cross section of local TV clients – including local broadcast and local cable, agencies and advertisers, sales executives and researchers – Nielsen had continued to discuss client needs and has now proposed a plan to revise what local data streams are delivered.

Based on the “near unanimous” request from local clients, Nielsen plans to create a Live + Same Day data stream for LPM and Set Meter markets, beginning in December.

“It’s pretty much universal that everyone wanted to see Live + Same Day,” Sara Erichson, Nielsen’s President, Media Client Services, North America, told RBR/TVBR. “The people that we spoke to – stations, local cable, as well as agencies and advertisers – indicated that they would use the Live + Same Day to negotiate local TV time, for buying and selling of local TV time,” she said.

“Live + 3 never gained traction, because Live only was too entrenched by that time,” said Pat Liguori, ABC O&O Stations SVP/Research & Electronic Measurement, who wrote about the issue in an opinion piece published in February by RBR/TVBR. She is now pleased that Live + SD is going to be the standard. “What’s more practical about it is that it does include time-shifted viewing from the same day, which according to Nielsen, 63% occurs within that same day,” said Ligouri. She noted that even the 19% of viewing that was time-shifted by less than five minutes (by people using the pause function of their DVRs) was not being counted in Live only.

While there is near universal agreement on Live + SD, Erichson noted that there is more disagreement about just what other data streams should be produced. Nielsen has opened a period for client comment through the end of this month, after which the company will finalize its plans for local market data streams. Below is the current thinking.

“Nielsen’s Recommended Plan

Our recommendation is to modify the data streams that we produce in LPM and Set Meter markets effective December 2009. Most importantly, we will create a Live + Same Day data stream; we see this as the top priority. The Live + Same Day stream will become the primary stream of data in LPMand Set Meter markets. In order to create a Live+ Same Day data stream, other changes are both required and desirable. There will be other streams available – some in overnights and TVS (the tools primarily used for buying and selling); others via custom analysis. The details are as follows:

The new Live + Same Day data stream will be added in LPM and Set Meter markets to our overnight deliverables (Arianna and Local Dailies). In order to accomplish this, our plan is to eliminate the Live data stream from the overnights leaving Live + Same Day as the standard data stream available on an overnight basis each day. Live + Same Day overnights will be released on the same schedule as the Live overnight is today. Live + 3 and Live + 7 overnights will still be available five and eight days later, respectively.

Total Viewing Sources (TVS) and Electronic Data Files:
We will also add the Live + Same Day data stream in the TVS and electronic data files. In LPM markets this will replace the Live data stream that is currently produced. In Set Meter markets this will be additive as a Live data stream is currently not available. Live + Same Day data will be the first file to be delivered to clients after each sweep period—approximately 14 days after the close of the measurement period. The Live + 3 and Live + 7 TVS data files will follow shortly thereafter.

Printed ViP (Viewers in Profile) Reports and All Supplementary Reports:
Since the Live + Same Day data stream will be considered the primary stream, all printed ViPs and all supplementary reports in LPM and Set Meter markets will switch over to the Live + Same Day data stream also in December (or at the next regularly scheduled time that each report is produced). This provides the simplicity and consistency that most clients are asking for.

Local Custom Toolbox:
We recognize that our clients have varied needs and may want to look at ratings for additional streams on a custom analysis basis. Nielsen’s Local Custom Toolbox already provides ratings for nine streams (Live, Live + Same Day, and Live + 1 through Live + 7) and at the individual day level. Today’s data, however, are limited to days within sweep measurement periods and are available only when the ViPs and TVS are mailed. Accordingly, we are making multiple enhancements to the Local Custom Toolbox in order to provide more robust and timely information. Effective October, ratings will be available for all days of the year in both LPM and Set Meter markets, for all of the above streams, and clients won’t have to wait until the measurement month is over to access data. Effective March 2010 new applications will be added to the Local Custom Toolbox including Minute by Minute Flows and Minute by Minute Ratings. Subsequent releases will include Reach and Frequency, Only/Only/Both studies, and Program Names and Averages reporting options. A follow up communication with more detail about upcoming enhancements to the Local Custom Toolbox will be forthcoming.

A Word About Diary Markets
The December 2009 plan does not address data streams in diary markets. All diary market data are currently based on a Live + 24 Hour data stream. We recommend that diary measurement convert from Live + 24 Hours to Live + Same Day. In this way, all local market reporting, regardless of methodology, will be consistent. This change would be consistent with client input on the need for consistency. We do not have a timetable for such a move at this time but will follow up on this topic in coming months.”

RBR/TVBR observation: Live + 3 will still be available to those who want it, but it clearly was not what the industry wanted as the standard. Kudos to Nielsen for listening to its clients and delivering what they really want.

More commentary from Nielsen clients will appear in future issues of RBR/TVBR.