As TV networks offer measurement currency alternatives to Nielsen in the coming upfront, Nielsen is offering an alternative of its own, according to the Video Advertising Bureau. The trade group that represents networks isn’t happy about it, but said it wants to partner with Nielsen on a solution.
In a letter issued to Nielsen late today, the VAB said Nielsen is preparing to release two sets of currencies into the market in advance of the upfronts. One is based on its TV ratings panel from 41,000 U.S. households and the other is a “big data” alternative from the alpha version of the next-generation Nielsen One, which incorporates data from millions of household set-top boxes and smart TVs.
“Nielsen’s view is that buyers/sellers should decide which currency data set to use in upfront negotiations,” according to a statement from the VAB. The group said research teams from media companies have “discovered real concerns that could hurt upfront negotiations” after analyzing one month of the new data (from September 2021, but not released until February).
"We are deeply disappointed that these concerns would be raised in the press rather than in direct discussion and collaboration with us,” Nielsen said in a statement. “We have been in regular contact with our clients, including hosting client webinars and numerous individual client meetings to review the methodology used to create the audience estimates and the recent release of impact data. We have been, and remain committed to working with our clients to convey a deep understanding of this comprehensive offering. Up until this letter was issued, we have not received questions from the VAB. Additionally, a trade group associated with traditional TV channels is an incomplete and biased subset of the video marketplace. We prefer to work openly with the entire industry to get to the best measurement solution.”
The VAB is calling for more information on how the new currency data was created and to have "complete confidence in the accuracy of the information to explain the differences to buyers,” according to the organization's statement. The group also said it wants to partner with Nielsen on next steps.
Nielsen said it made the decision to allow either data set to be used in trading in the fall based on feedback from buyers and sellers. The company said it had addressed client concerns around proximity of the data release to the upfronts. “Our approach will enable buyers and sellers to trade against big data plus panel metrics if they so choose, while giving our clients runway to adapt to this launch.”