Paragon Unimpressed With Nielsen Voltair Verdict
July 28, 2015 at 12:40 PM (PT)
PARAGON was only half-impressed with NIELSEN’s JULY 21st webinar that addressed the VOLTAIR issue. In its latest post on its blog, PARAGON's LARRY JOHNSON noted that while the presentation was "very well done ... NIELSEN presented establish the ground rules for validly measuring a radio station’s encoded signals in the PORTABLE PEOPLE METER (PPM) system. Yet, in the end, NIELSEN is playing 'Let’s Make a Deal' with radio receiving booby prizes behind all three doors."
JOHNSON then listed three points of contention. First, by essentially saying, “VOLTAIRE doesn’t help ratings,” but adding that the service will provide its own version soon,” VOLTAIR has essentially forced "NIELSEN to change its encoding system of the PPM to accurately attribute what can be heard in environments with quite a bit of noise."
Secondly, by allowing the continued or new use of VOLTAIR. NIELSEN "looks the other way as some operator may unfairly benefit from VOLTAIRE even as NIELSEN rolls out its own PPM encoding enhancements in the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2016. To an outsider, it appears NIELSEN is walking a fine legal line with its own clients and is choosing a safe legal harbor vs. taking a position on what is right for the ratings."
Finally, "NIELSEN is openly accepting that ratings distortion is taking place on its watch by "sanctioning operators using VOLTAIRE to gain listening credit for signals that are truly unintelligible (according to NIELSEN). These are signals that NIELSEN says should not be credited."
JOHNSON concludes, "I suppose that NIELSEN is doing everything possible to protect its legal positions and its stock price. They certainly chose to leave this sticky issue unresolved and open-ended, and it’s very possible they may take a different position on VOLTAIR once they roll out their own encoder enhancements to PPM itself. The good news for NIELSEN is nobody is talking about their anemic sampling anymore. Those issues still exist."