Media trade body VAB is calling on the Media Rating Council to suspend accreditation for Nielsen’s national TV ratings amid continued problems stemming from the data giant’s COVID-19 workarounds.
MRC accreditation is what gives Nielsen TV ratings their legitimacy to be used as currency in billions of dollars worth of network TV deals. But suspending accreditation likely wouldn’t throw the marketplace into chaos, says VAB CEO Sean Cunningham, whose group represents TV networks.
Networks and buyers could still transact using the suspended ratings, he says. But suspension, he says, would force Nielsen to come forward with a detailed, public plan for fixing measurement problems that have led to persistent undercounts of TV audiences for more than a year, particularly Black, Hispanic and younger audiences.
“Suspension is not a sign that says: ‘Out of order. Do not use,’” Cunningham says. “It’s more of a sign that says ‘Under Repair’ and ‘Buyer and Seller Beware.’” It would lead, he says, to “a coherent process that outlines what’s required to be reinstated.”