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Comscore Aims To Start MRC Review of Its TV Ratings Service Earlier Than Planned

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Comscore said it is seeking to have its national and local TV measurement products audited by the the Media Rating Council earlier than previously planned.

A process leading to potential accreditation of Comscore’s ratings service could begin as soon as October. 

The move comes as the MRC considers whether to grant ratings leader Nielsen a pause in the current accreditation process for its national TV service or to revoke its accreditation.

Nielsen has been under fire because TV networks accused it of underreporting viewing during the pandemic. The MRC, working with Nielsen, confirmed that Nielsen’s numbers undercounted viewing, potentially costing the industry millions of dollars in ad revenue.

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Because of the pandemic, Nielsen was unable to maintain its panel homes in person. As a result, the panel shrunk and some homes with no viewing were left in the sample that shouldn’t have been.

The situation has led to the networks looking for new alternatives to Nielsen. Earlier this week, NBCUniversal said it had sent out requests for proposals to a number of measurement and data companies, including Nielsen, seeking a replacement for the current “outdated” system and metrics.

Comscore is one of the companies that could provide an updated ratings system and its move to work with the MRC could increase the pressure on Nielsen, which is working on Nielsen One, a new process aimed at treating all viewing in a consistent and comparable basis. 

The MRC said its staff has been engaged in discussions with Comscore since early 2021. 

Those conversations have been “designed to provide feedback to Comscore in its preparations to resubmit its Comscore TV product into the MRC’s audit and accreditation process,” the MRC said.

Comscore's TV ratings are currently unaccredited, and have been in an inactive MRC status since 2018.

“Until now, both Comscore and MRC have been targeting an audit re-entry date in early 2022,“ the MRC said. ”However, Comscore recently indicated to MRC its desire to accelerate the timing for its submission of Comscore TV to audit for MRC’s accreditation consideration,. MRC will work with Comscore in the coming weeks to formalize this request and to finalize an audit plan, with a new target date set for no later than Oct. 15, 2021 to begin the audit.”

MRC said it will make a public disclosure once this new audit of Comscore TV is officially in process.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting + Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.