Nielsen to Implement task force recommendations on US TV measurement

MUMBAI: Nielsen Media Research has made public the report of The Independent Task Force on television measurement in the US. The television ratings service will begin immediately to implement many of the report's recommendations.


The task force has made a number of specific suggestions about how Nielsen can and should improve its measurement of the changing US population. The task force also pointed out that the amount and quality of TV ratings data generated daily by Nielsen for hundreds of local stations and networks has been vital to the success of the US television industry.

The areas where the task force recommended improvement were the composition of the Local People Meter (LPM) samples, training for the field force, fault rates, diversity levels at Nielsen, and communications with the communities affected by ratings.

LPM Technology - The Task Force concluded that LPM technology can more accurately measure the diverse viewing audience than, for example, paper diaries. The demographic complexity of America's urbanised TV markets, however, makes this task very difficult. To meet this challenge, Nielsen will consider the Task Force's recommendations in consultation with its cients. Additionally, Nielsen has already taken several initiatives one of which involves initiating an approach to sample recruitment through a programme unique to Nielsen called "Membership."

This involves specialised hiring and training of recruitment employees, and proprietary techniques aimed at encouraging people to participate in Nielsen's People Meter samples. Nielsen has also invested in new recruitment video to better help sample households understand more about Nielsen and what it does.

Field Operations: As far as multilingual written materials are concerned many, but not all, of Nielsen's recruitment materials are already translated into a variety of languages. Nielsen believes that the Task Force's recommendation that all its recruitment materials be translated into Spanish and the main Asian languages is excellent and therefore this measure will be implemented immediately. Nielsen also will translate these materials into other languages, as necessary.

Fault Rates: As suggested by the task force, and in the interest of transparency Nielsen will begin issuing quarterly public reports on its progress in reducing fault rates in LPM markets. Such information will be posted the site

Diversity: Nielsen will create councils comprised of persons who represent diverse racial/ethnic communities with expertise in the media industry or research methods. They will provide advice on ways to ensure accurate measurement of people of colour. Nielsen will carefully review the Task Force's recommendation on this matter and determine the structure and responsibilities of the councils.



Research & Development: Nielsen has stated that it recognises the need for the television industry to have a greater say in the direction of

research-related R&D. Nielsen has already committed to create a $2.5 million R&D fund for methodological research that would be

directed jointly by the company and its clients. Nielsen will explore further the Task Force's recommendations on the creation of a research institute funded by private and public entities.

Missing the wood for the trees: The report has expressed concern about the lack of inclusiveness among persons of colour within the greater television industry in the US. The task force is worried that the LPM controversy may distract attention from the larger issue of under-

representation among persons of color in the television industry.

"It would be unfortunate if the industry's longstanding failure to adequately represent persons of colour on television or in positions of authority were ignored because of the more highly publicised concerns over LPMs" states the report.

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