Should You Consider Dropping Nielsen?


Consultant Mark Ramsey says yes in his latest blog posting, following the recent revelation that one household has 16 panelists. He says that when you’re running a household that contains 16 meters, you’re effectively a Nielsen employee — and his opinion is that’s not good. “I think it’s time for many more broadcasters to drop Nielsen and make their products better.”

Ramsey’s point about the 16 household meters is that listening has become a job, and the panelists have become employees of Nielsen: “And your first priority will be to keep your job with Nielsen, and that means maximizing cooperation and staying on the panel until Nielsen throws you out — if they ever do. That means Nielsen’s bribery, er, compensation will be your end game, not going about your day and remembering to carry your meter(s). Thus, the so-called ‘passive’ nature of measurement becomes a job in and of itself, and anything but passive. The PPM device for such a family becomes a time-card, and Nielsen is waiting to punch it.”

Ramsey writes that this is one of those “shockingly unfair and non-representative elements of PPM that broadcasters overlook far too easily.” He writes, “According to 2015 data, the percentage of U.S. households containing 7 or more persons is a mere 1.39%. The fraction of households containing more than 10 must be tiny. So what is the possible logic in entertaining the made-up threshold of 16? There can be only one: It’s a huge bounty for Nielsen to be able to park a large number of meters in a single household like this. It’s comparatively cheap to install and maintain them, and to any radio station subscriber 16 meters all in one household look just like 16 meters in 16 different households — unless you care about the accuracy of the results, of course. And because these large households are so scarce, where they occur they will represent a HUGE proportion of the installed households in the zips they reside in, if not ALL of them. I challenge you: Go to ANY one household in any one zip code and tell me if you think that accurately represents all households in that zip code. I dare you. Now go to any one 16-person household and tell me if you think that accurately represents anything average or typical.”

Read Ramsey’s latest Blog HERE


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