Starting with the October PPM reports Nielsen will adjust its estimates to account for headphone listening to encoded AM, FM and HD-multicast streams. The ratings firm says the change will increase radio’s AQH by 2-5%.
In a webinar Tuesday Nielsen admitted that consumer use of wireless headphones is growing and the Portable People Meter device is not compatible with that technology. And, panelists may not always use the PPM headphone adapter when listening to radio stations with wired headphones. “We believe that the headphone adjustment will better account for the variety of ways panelists hear radio station streams whether out loud via radio speaker, computer speaker, or privately via wired or wireless headphones.
The radio industry has been complaining for years that it has not been receiving proper credit for headphone listening, especially in light of the explosive growth in consumer use of wireless headphone in recent years.
Nielsen says it will not adjust Cume estimates and since the headphone adjustment will increase market totals, AQH share estimates may be affected for all stations, whether or not they have an encoded AM/FM stream.
Nielsen also says, in some cases, stations may experience an unusual increase in ratings based on a single panelist or home with very heavy listening that contributes more than half of a station’s audience and that will be addressed in a new process they are calling “Outlier Mitigation.”