Nielsen Explains Why They Removed A Tampa PPM Household, Sends Letter To Clients About Controversy
March 14, 2017 at 7:10 AM (PT)
YESTERDAY (NET NEWS 3/13), ALL ACCESS reported NIELSEN had dropped a TAMPA-based PPM panelist from its FEBRUARY 2017 PPM results in the wake of Consultant RANDY KABRICH's finding that streaming ratings for BEASLEY Spanish Contemporary WYUU (92.5 MAXIMA)/TAMPA seemed too high.
KABRICH reacted to that move (NET NEWS 3/14), blogging that NIELSEN, "needs to come clean and reveal ALL the facts in their case for removal of this Household, not just their most current statement which does not follow the compliance statements in their earlier statement. And are Household visits a Standard Operating Procedure for "coaching" or was it 'different' this time for some reason?.... If NIELSEN does not come clean on this, it is a very dangerous precedent."
We asked NIELSEN for a more detailed explaination, and were told by NIELSEN Communications, U.S. Media spokesperson GORKI DE LOS SANTOS, "As part of our daily business operations, we have frequent conversations with clients where we provide updates on various initiatives and address their issues and concerns. This letter [published below] provides clients with additional clarity to our decision to remove a TAMPA household from the panel survey due to a meter wearing compliance issue. While the household was removed from the panel effective with the start of the MARCH survey, we will not restate the JANUARY and FEBRUARY data because the home met our compliance standards during those measurement periods."
The letter does not indicate how the household's deviation from standards became known to the company, nor whether a subscriber or third party alerted them to the issue. It also does not state what the deviation was; consultant RANDY KABRICH has speculated that one household member was carrying two meters, and has criticized NIELSEN for taking outliers out of the panel rather than increasing the sample size to mitigate the effects of outliers.
In a letter to clients named, "NIELSEN AUDIO RATINGS IN TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG-CLEARWATER," the company wrote:
"We want to address questions that we received about the NIELSEN AUDIO ratings in TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG-CLEARWATER.
"In the JANUARY 2017 TAMPA NIELSEN AUDIO monthly report, WYUU-IF, specifically the internet stream of WYUU-FM, was the the top ranked station among Persons and Women 18-34. WYUU-IF did not previously appear in the ratings and it is highly unusual for an Internet stream to have a top ranked position. While multiple households contributed listening to WYUU-IF, one household contributed substantial listening to the station in JANUARY – a four-person household in which all members were Hispanic persons aged 18-54. These factors created a ratings outlier that does not represent the market’s overall listening behavior. We would like to explain what happened, why the station appeared in the ratings to begin with, and our plans for addressing these types of situations going forward.
"We regularly monitor the panel for compliance with our meter wear standards and the security and integrity of the panel. In JANUARY and FEBRUARY, this household met those standards, including the requirement that all household members wear or carry their individually assigned meters during waking hours. In addition, quality assurance checks indicated that the household was not affiliated with any media entity and we had no basis to conclude that the household’s listening was inauthentic. For these reasons, this home was included in the ratings for JANUARY and FEBRUARY, consistent with our established policy.
"While the home met our minimum compliance requirements in JANUARY and FEBRUARY, they displayed signs of deviation from our norms for meter wear. Per our quality assurance procedures, members of our Internal Audit staff (including one bilingual auditor) visited the home and verified that the household members understood their responsibilities as PPM panelists. In addition, a bilingual Panel Relations Specialist called the home to provide additional coaching to ensure proper usage of the PPM device. Following the household visit and coaching call, the household’s meter wear behavior showed no signs of improvement. Per our policy, we removed the household from the panel effective with the start of the MARCH monthly reporting period.
"We recognize that outliers like this are disruptive to users of the data. Therefore, we are expediting work on methods to augment existing procedures to address cases where a single household has a disproportionate effect on a station’s audience estimates. These steps involve both the disclosure of outliers when they occur and methods to mitigate their effect on the published ratings. We will have additional details on these steps for all subscribers in the near future when our evaluation is complete."