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Nielsen struggles to keep up as streaming data increases in relevance

Nielsen has acknowledged that its system has problems and has said that it is working to address them.ESPN IMAGES

Nielsen’s hold on measuring U.S. TV ratings is "loosening as streaming gains steam and traditional broadcast and cable TV lose viewers," according to Alexandra Bruell of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The N.Y.-based company has introduced metrics for streaming in recent years, but in this field it is "just one of many players." Moreover, confidence in its legacy TV measurements has "eroded, partly due to pandemic-related undercounting." Nielsen’s challenges "prompted a watchdog group to pull its accreditation for the company’s national TV ratings." Nielsen has acknowledged that its system "has problems" and has said that it is "working to address them." The company promises a "new streamlined system to measure both traditional TV and streaming," to be "introduced in 2022 and completed by 2024." But some TV network customers said that Nielsen’s offerings are "antiquated and its progress too slow," and that they are "using alternatives to measure streaming viewership." Execs at several large TV networks said that they are "increasingly relying on alternative methods and data providers for measurements used to strike streaming video ad deals." Bruell noted TV companies also are "investing in their own measurement products." NBCUniversal recently sent measurement vendors, including Nielsen, a "request for proposals to help the company build a new measurement framework." But it "remains to be seen how much advertisers will want to rely on metrics from media companies themselves, essentially measuring their own success" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/7).

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