Nielsen chief commercial officer Peter Bradbury is exiting at the end of the year as part of a larger reorganization at the measurement company.
Nielsen, bought by a group of private equity investors led by Elliott Investment Management in October, is being challenged by alternative measurement providers and is in the process of replacing its current ratings system with Nielsen One. The new system will incorporate big data along with Nielsen's viewing panels to better capture multi-platform viewing as more consumers stream programming.
Nielsen One had been slated to launch by the end of the year and is now scheduled for release on January 11, industry sources said. Customers are planning to be trained on the new system at “boot camps” starting next week. Customers are prevented from sharing information about Nielsen One by nondisclosure agreements that include nondisparagement clauses.
The reorganization is designed to streamline Nielsen’s measurement and metadata businesses to accelerate growth, a company spokesperson said.
Industry sources said that Bradbury, who had been with the company 26 years, is only one of a half dozen senior executives that will be leaving Nielsen. In part, the sources said, heads are rolling because despite assurances made publicly by Nielsen CEO David Kenny, the Media Rating Council has not restored its accreditation of Nielsen’s TV ratings system.
Nielsen lost its accreditation after it was found to have been undercounting viewing during the pandemic.
A key question is how the departure of senior executives will impact the rollout of Nielsen One.
Of the executives said to be leaving Nielsen, the one of most interest to industry observers is Mainak Mazumdar, the company’s chief data and research officer.
"He played an enormous part in getting Nielsen One to the marketplace and telling customers it was legitimate," said one industry executive who heard Mazumdar was leaving Nielsen. "It’s like cutting the starting quarterback on the eve of the big game."
Nielsen declined to specifically say if Mazumdar was staying or leaving the company. It also declined to comment on the status of chief product officer Eric Bosco, chief human resources officer Laurie Lovett and chief growth officer Sean Cohan.
Industry executives have questioned when Nielsen One would be ready to be used as currency for the industry, particularly because it has not yet been accredited by the Media Rating Council.
The MRC is currently auditing most of the data inputs that are being used for Nielsen One, including digital data and television data. It is also auditing internal process changes Nielsen has been making, such as increasing meter-data capture granularity at a sub-minute level, MRC CEO George Ivie said.
"There was a delay in September in implementing the inclusion of big data into Nielsen’s national TV ratings because of new processes Nielsen was implementing," Ivie said.
"At that time we chose to delay our auditing of that so we could capture those new processes in our audit because we believed they were important," he added. "That’s not new, but that’s a data input that is being audited following Nielsen’s revised timeline which is to bring this forward later in 2023.
"As the Nielsen One implementation gets closer we expect to be auditing the reporting, user interface and other back-office specifics, but that has always been the plan and it’s not delayed to my knowledge," Ivie said.
As chief commercial officer, Bradbury had overall responsibility for building and accelerating Nielsen’s growth through partnerships across audience measurement, impact, sports and Gracenote content measurement. His role also included Nielsen’s advertiser and media-agency teams, as well as media analytics.
In his biography, Nielsen said Bradbury’s "deep industry knowledge and growth mindset have led Nielsen through transformation, including the current evolution to Nielsen One, the firm’s cross-media measurement solution." ■
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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.