Nielsen Says Goodbye To Diaries For TV Ratings


Nielsen has gotten fully eco-friendly with its measurement of local television ratings in even the smallest rated markets.

In a major step, Nielsen today (Sept. 14) announced that by July 2017, it will provide all electronic measurement in its local television ratings across all 210 designated market areas (DMAs).

In its announcement, Nielsen explained that it will incorporate Return Path Data from set-top boxes and other electronic measurement into local services, including the 140 TV markets currently measured by paper TV diaries.

The integration of Return Path Data will pave the way for the retirement of paper TV diaries in early 2018.

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“By tapping into the strengths of Return Path Data and electronic measurement, and combining it with Nielsen’s gold-standard panels and meters, we will be delivering a superior product to help all local clients address current challenges and be better positioned for future trends,” Megan Clarken, President of Nielsen Product Leadership, said in prepared comments. “These enhancements are part of Nielsen’s commitment to invest in and transform how local TV is measured in a cross-platform world across all screens and devices.”

Nielsen will combine its currency-grade panel data with Return Path Data and other electronic measurement from millions of homes across multiple providers.

Nielsen believes the change will provide “consistent measurement, true-person exposure data and complete local market coverage … For the 210 DMAs, the new service will bring measurement on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, 365 days a year.”

The move helps Nielsen in its competitive battle with comScore, which uses data from set-top boxes to provide ratings in local markets.

The announcement will likely raise eyebrows among radio industry professionals, as the paper diary is still used in a large number of markets and the PPM is still under Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation review in 20 markets including New York; Boston; Seattle; Washington, DC; and Nashville – home to the 2016 Radio Show that starts Sept. 21 in Music City USA.

A Nielsen spokesperson tells RBR + TVBR the retirement of paper diaries for its TV audience estimates “does not impact Nielsen Audio” in any way.