Another Processing Issue Arises For Nielsen


Nielsen1An “isolated processing issue” has led Nielsen to recall its previously issued Week 1 PPM Weeklies data for January 2017.

However, the data are corrected and appears in the PPM January monthly data set for release starting Tuesday (Feb. 21) at Noon local time.

In a client product notification obtained by RBR + TVBR, Nielsen said that comparisons between the erroneous Week 1 Weeklies data to the data seen for week 1 in the January Monthly data, “clients may notice some slight variation in the data.”

A Nielsen spokesperson tells RBR + TVBR that this variation is too small to have any impact on the ratings results. “The monthlies are correct,” the company representative said.

While Nielsen told clients that it is taking “additional steps to identify and execute new quality assurance checks to prevent a recurrence,” the Nielsen spokesperson declined to comment on how or why the processing issue occurred.

The unspecified processing error is the latest blip in a string of incidences that have resulted in client notification e-mails informing them of various incidents tied to Nielsen Audio’s PPM.

In late December 2016, Nielsen Audio announced that it will boost the effective sample size of its PPM panel by 10% across all markets and demographics. The increase across all 48 PPM markets will begin in mid-2017.

But, the timing of the announcement was called into question by some media professionals, as a Portable People Meter (PPM) snafu some six weeks earlier resulted in some 8% of all installed PPMs losing connectivity, becoming inactive. Nielsen confirmed that the sample size boost was in the works for a while, and is not a result of the PPM connectivity problem.

In August 2016, the removal of 35 homes from the Los Angeles survey was conducted by Nielsen Audio due to their failure to follow quality protocols.

Nielsen determined that this had “zero impact” on radio listening. Subsequently, the August 2016 Nielsen Audio radio ratings estimates for Los Angeles received the audience measurement company’s seal of approval.

While the latest PPM incident was corrected prior to the release of January 2017 full-survey data, it is nevertheless another blemish as Nielsen gets set to begin using the meter for its TV ratings in markets where it is in use.

In an announcement made Sept. 29, Nielsen said it will now use the PPM for the measurement of in-home and out-of-home viewing of television stations in 2017. The addition of PPM panelists to Nielsen’s Local TV service effectively doubles the sample size and provides local clients with ratings that reflect “precise measurement of local viewing behaviors and insights, and boost ratings fidelity.”

The PPM was first rolled out for the radio industry in January 2007 in the Philadelphia market, after market tests in Houston that began in 2005.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 10:30am on Feb. 22 to correct an erroneous date associated with the roll out of the PPM in the Philadelphia market.