Summit Preview: Media Rating Council Was Analyzing Nielsen Pandemic Data Before Complaints

George Ivie Media Rating Council
George Ivie, CEO, Media Rating Council (Image credit: MRC)

Even before networks and distributors accused Nielsen of undercounting TV usage during the pandemic, the Media Rating Council was analyzing how changes in the way Nielsen handed its sample home was affecting its viewership data, according to MRC CEO George Ivie.

Ivie, who will be a keynote speaker at the TV Measurement & Data Summit, produced by Broadcasting+Cable’s parent company Future plc, says the review was a “very natural part” of the MRC’s role of auditing and accrediting measurement services.

Also Read: Contradicting Nielsen, Comscore Says TV Use Didn’t Fall in Pandemic

“What we were observing over time during the evolution of the pandemic is that the changes that Nielsen was making could have growing impacts,” Ivie said.

The MRC and Nielsen came out with a statement indicating that Nielsen was undercounting viewing by as much as 6% in some situations.

What was unusual was the MRC’s decision to make a public statement about the situation after the VAB took the industry’s concerns to the press.

“We were saying to ourselves, should the MRC could out with some type of a statement? Or should we just be silent? And ultimately we concluded we should say something," Ivie said.

In addition to addressing the Nielsen situation, Ivie in his keynote address also talks about the issues the MRC plans to focus on for the remainder of 2021.

Those include looking at addressable advertising and how server-side insertion systems can be monitored. 

Ivie will also talk about how the MRC is also looking to establish standards for measuring outcomes.

The other keynote speaker at the TV Measurement and Data summit is Comscore CEO Bill Livek. The event also features an interview with Kelly Abcarian, who joined NBCUniversal as executive VP, measurement and impact in April after a long stint at Nielsen.

Panels will discuss the best ways to use first-party data and the role of panels in a world of big data.

The TV Measurement & Data Summit is being held virtually on June 9. If you are interested you can register for free here.

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.