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Nielsen VOD-Measurement Plan on Target

Nielsen Media Research is on target to provide the TV industry with a plan for video-on-demand measurement within the rating’s service’s self-imposed 90-day deadline, officials said Tuesday.

In a March 29 letter to update clients, Nielsen president Susan Whiting also said the company remains on schedule to include digital-video-recorder households in its metered-market samples in April and in its “Local People Meter” and national samples by January.

On Feb. 18, Nielsen outlined an action plan that it was instituting to improve its research and to address complaints and criticism from clients. The ratings service said it planned to step up its initiatives to track VOD usage, among other changes.

“I’m happy to report that we are making solid progress in putting together our own internal action plans, and we expect to meet the deadlines I outlined,” Whiting said in her letter.

Nielsen had also promised to create and fund, with $2.5 million, a research-and-development fund to conduct methodological research on TV-audience measurement. The company has hired media-research consultant Richard Zackon to accelerate the launch of that R&D program, according to Whiting, who added that numerous clients have volunteered to be part of its steering committee.

Zackon will address issues such as how the steering committee will be chosen, the role and responsibility of its members and the process for selecting the R&D projects.

In May, Nielsen will launch an entirely new Web site ( that will make it easier for clients to access and download research information.

In her update, Whiting said Nielsen is proceeding with its effort to “oversample” homes where the head of the household is under 35, African American or Hispanic. “This initiative will greatly improve sample representation for these groups,” she added.

Nielsen recently announced that it planned to implement some of the recommendations made by an independent task force that was formed following the controversy over the ratings service’s rollout of LPMs.

The areas where the task force recommended improvements were in the composition of the LPM samples, training for the field force, fault rates, diversity levels at Nielsen and communications with the communities affected by the ratings.