Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Nielsen Monopoly and Sampling
""The digital set-top box represents the Holy Grail for marketers; a virtual treasure-trove of TV viewing data -- if it can be effectively harnessed.
It could also mean the end of Nielsen Media Research's monopoly over the $600 million TV ratings business, if TNS, Comscore, ErinMedia or a host of other startups have their way.
An example of that is the skirmishes with Florida-based ErinMedia, which has developed technology it believes will make the concept of a "Nielsen Family" obsolete.
The company is in the middle of an antitrust suit against Nielsen in which it argues Nielsen's longterm, staggered contracts with media companies prevents others from entering the ratings market."
"Mistakes in Sampling
And there are mistakes. Mistakes that have forced advertisers to lose money. Nielsen has acknowledged, for example, that in Los Angeles that fault rates for Hispanic households have been 27% higher than the rest of the sample. Audits by the Media Rating Council also found that Nielsen’s local people meter system used in New York failed to record viewing data from over 25% of African American homes in the sample.
I have only come across three people who were invited to be a part of the Nielsen family through People Meters and diaries used during sweeps period. All three admitted that with their busy schedules and viewing patterns it was hard to know what they actually watched. In addition, they often forgot to write down what they watched and decided to simply fill in the blanks with their favorites. One couple with a People Meter was on vacation and kept their television on PBS during their whole vacation in hopes of helping the non-commercial station.
In an effort to please advertisers and critics, Nielsen has been doing a few things that it believes are making them a little smarter. While its efforts can be applauded, some of the steps remained flawed."