Nielsen Pushes Back Ratings Stabilization Plans Until 2016

Nielsen has told station clients that its Ratings Stabilization rollout, designed to smooth out the dramatic ups and downs subscribers often see in the ratings, is on “pause” until 2016. Some 70 markets, representing both Local People Meter (LPM) and set meter DMAs, were hoping to have Ratings Stabilization deployed this year. The rollout was slated to happen at the end of July for LPM markets and the beginning of October for the rest.

“It’s become clear based on your input, that the model does not align with how many of you sell your ad inventory, nor sufficiently take into account the week-to-week variability in programming lineups,” Nielsen said in a letter to clients.

Matt O’Grady, Nielsen executive VP and general manager, local media, stressed that there is “no wavering in our commitment to continually improve the stability and quality of our ratings.”

He noted Nielsen’s efforts to eliminate diary measurement, with 14 diary markets, including Harrisburg, Pa., and Madison, Wisc., along with 31 set meter markets, scrapping the paper measurement platform in October. The diary-only markets pick up code readers, and with those, monthly ratings books. “We believe it’s a great step forward,” O’Grady said.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.