The company was already reeling in the Tampa market from the alleged Bubba The Love Sponge ratings tampering case, and now this WYUU-FM controversy is piled right on top of that. And from all the information we’ve been able to gather, Nielsen has not provided Beasley with a specific reason why a four-person PPM household in Tampa was kicked off the panel.
Everyone is pretty much getting the same explanation, that it was a “meter wearing compliance issue.” We could get no more detail from Nielsen than that. Some are surmising that explanation means one person was wearing two meters. What’s making the situation even more baffling to those involved is Nielsen’s two statements now seem to contradict each other.
As you know, in the January Tampa Nielsen Audio monthly report, WYUU-FM, specifically the Internet stream of WYUU, was the top-ranked station among Persons and Women 18-34. WYUU did not previously appear in the ratings and it is highly unusual for an Internet stream to have a top-ranked position.
In statement number one (issued Monday), Nielsen said the household in question was identified in early February. Nielsen coached the household on the rules but says nothing improved. “Following the training visit, the household’s meter-wearing compliance behavior did not change and per our quality assurance procedures, we removed the home effective with the start of the March survey.” Okay, fair enough. If the rules are not being followed the household should be disqualified from participating. However, if that was the conclusion, that in February the rules were being broken, shouldn’t that also disqualify the data from that month?
In a follow-up statement (issued Tuesday), Nielsen modified its earlier statement. “In January and February, this household met those standards, including the requirement that all household members wear or carry their individually assigned meters during waking hours. While the home met our minimum compliance requirements in January and February, they displayed signs of deviation from our norms for meter wear. Following the household visit and coaching call, the household’s meter-wear behavior showed no signs of improvement. Per our policy, we removed the household from the panel effective with the start of the March monthly reporting period.”
As one industry ratings expert pointed out to us Tuesday, Nielsen has managed to make everyone angry about this. If the rules were broken in February, why is the data still valid, everyone other than Beasley may be asking? If the rules have been broken, which will have a drastic impact on WYUU, why isn’t Beasley being given a satisfactory answer so they can clearly understand why this station will, most likely, disappear from the ratings in March? In this case, they certainly deserve an explanation.
The March Tampa numbers will be released on March 28