Nielsen, a benchmark in the measurement of television audience and video advertising, has announced the autonomous suspension of accreditation to continue operating. The step, as reported by the specialized site The Drum, was taken in the United States after Nielsen herself had admitted to having underestimated the TV viewing figures. The turning point comes after pressure from the Video Advertising Bureau, a body in which interests of the television and video industry converge. Nielsen’s autonomous decision anticipates a scheduled vote at the Media Rating Council (MRC), which should have expressed itself on the subject: the Video Advertising Bureau, in fact, had requested the revocation of Nielsen’s accreditation, denouncing the violation of at least 5 parameters set by the MRC. “After months of publicly reiterating that there was nothing wrong with his data, now Nielsen announces ‘you can’t fire me, I’m leaving’”, the words of Sean Cunningham, number 1 of the VAB. The body, in particular, accused Nielsen of systematically underestimating audience figures during the pandemic. The giant admitted in May that it had produced inaccurate data, due to poor monitoring for operational problems related to the pandemic.
This admission on the methodology obviously also opens up reflections on the situation in Italy, where Nielsen is a partner of Auditel. During the pandemic Auditel demonstrated a very careful management of the panel and no problems of this kind were detected. Of course, with the advancement of digital technology, in terms of technology and diffusion, the time has come to think about turning from panel-based measurement methodologies to census methodologies.