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Nielsen Among Firms Participating in NBCU's New Measurement Process

Nielsen building in Canada
(Image credit: Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Scalable Grid Engine - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88467132)

NBCUniversal said that 80% of the companies it sent requests to for proposals for new ways to measure TV audiences and advertising impact are participating in the process, including Nielsen.

NBCU sent the RFPs to 54 potential partners and responses were due on Monday. Extensions were granted to a handful of companies.

NBCU said it expects to wrap up the process by the week of Sept. 20.

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

“We are getting to work right away on how NBCU can bring better measurement to its advertisers to prove the performance of our amazing content,” said NBCU executive VP for measurement and impact Kelly Abcarian, a former Nielsen executive. “It is truly eye opening to see how many good companies there are out there providing the potential to move measurement forward.”

Measurement has become a big issue in the TV industry and NBCU is aiming to set up a new system that it can use and the industry can adopt. It said it's a more complicated media world and the industry needs to be independent from a single source or single metric.

The effort comes with Nielsen under fire for undercounting viewership during the pandemic, potentially costing the TV industry millions of dollars in lost ad revenue.  Nielsen has asked the Media Rating Council for a hiatus in the accreditation of its national TV ratings service. The MRC board is voting on whether to grant the hiatus or to suspend Nielsen’s accreditation.

Also Read: VAB Asks MRC To Suspend Nielsen Ratings Accreditation

At first, companies picked to be partners in the new measurement program will be rolled out to NBCU’s advertising and agency partners. After that, they ‘ll be introduced publicly, both to trade groups and the press.

In the next six months, NBCU said it will begin data integrations with its new partners. It will do that in a consumer safe and privacy compliant way, NBCU said.

Kelly Abcarian NBCU Nielsen

Kelly Abcarian, executive VP for measurement and impact for NBCUniversal (Image credit: NBCU)

"The change in distribution is allowing for better ad experiences and better measurement and we want to help our advertisers take advantage of this to grow their brands," NBCU's Abacarian said. "Let us give ourselves the permission to continue to push on all the measurement partners, including Nielsen, to drive better measurement yardsticks forward."

Better measurement will help the industry as a whole, Abcarian said.

“I genuinely believe that a rising tide of measurement innovation will lift all ships. And if we get it right it will have a multiplier effect for both consumers and advertisers, and everyone wins,” she said.

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.