Thursday, July 10, 2014

Nielsen’s House Of Cards

A very cool aspect of the business Mike O’Malley, Becky Brenner and I are in is fully understanding and - many times - being a part of moving ratings. 

We make it our business to know what causes, just for a few examples, WMZQ/Washington to grow from a 2.7 a few months ago to a 4.1 6+ in the current month;  how WYCD/Detroit got back up to a 6.2 after a 5.3-5.5 trend and the driver of KNIX/Phoenix’s largest PPM share in the station’s history this month, a 6.2, after a 5.0 last month.

As a result, we were all extremely relieved to see Nielsen’s announcement yesterday on the Los Angeles sample that in spite of one media related household that resulted in Univision firing a manager at LA 102.9 “our analysis revealed that any significant differences in the estimates over the past year were isolated primarily to a single station” and didn’t impact much else. 

It turns out that the wobbly numbers affecting many other stations were a result of a UPS driver who listened to radio all day in his delivery truck and the rest of his family traveling to Mexico but leaving their meters at home in hopes they’d still be paid their premiums to help underwrite their vacation.

Two homes is all it took!

Lets face it.  Due to the very small sample sizes, especially when it comes to ultra core radio users, it’s as much an art as it is a science to keep PPM panels consistent and believable.

If Nielsen had been forced to rebuild their entire Los Angeles panel, it would have been expensive and a lengthy process, affecting immense revenues in the nation’s second largest metro.

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