Comscore Fires Back at Nielsen on Using Big Data

Dr. Michael Vinson, Comscore
Dr. Michael Vinson, Comscore (Image credit: Comscore)

Responding to an op-ed column from Nielsen on Broadcasting+Cable’s website defending the use of panels as part of its audience measurement system, competitor Comscore is firing back.

In a column titled “Setting the Record Straight About Modern Media Measurement,” Dr. Michael Vinson, Comscore’s chief research officer, labels Nielsen an “antiquated monopoly” and says that modern techniques, including machine learning and big data, work if you have experience using them.

Also Read: Ad Industry Seeks Alternatives After Nielsen Loses Seal of Approval

Vinson notes that during the pandemic, Nielsen’s panels failed to accurately measure viewing, while Comscore’s system remained reliable.

In her column, Nielsen’s senior VP of data science Molly Poppie said Comscore’s decision to stop using portable people meter data will lead to less accurate information about who is watching what. 

Also Read: Comscore Adopts New Methodology for Person-Level Measurement

“With Nielsen’s limited experience in this new world, it is misguided for them to discount Comscore’s more than a decade of experience and knowledge in creating stable, reliable, and predictable local and national measurement currencies using census-scale data,” is Vinson’s rebuttal.

“It’s clear we are in a new era of media. To meet the needs of what the industry needs now, not years from now, Comscore has taken a measurement approach with the imperatives of reliability, inclusion, and stability in mind. We are proud to have built what we believe is the best methodology in the market. We have enormous scale — there is one Comscore-measured home in every three U.S. TV homes — and a data-driven/census-like approach that’s impossible to achieve with small samples,” Vinson concludes.

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.