VAB Calls on Nielsen to Halt "Big Data" Impact Releases
VAB Leading Conversations

VAB’s MITF Uncovers Flaws with Nielsen Big Data


As you saw in AdAge and Broadcasting + Cable, the VAB, in partnership with the VAB Measurement Innovation Task Force, has called for the immediate cessation of Nielsen’s “Big Data” monthly impact data releases.

What is Nielsen’s “Big Data?” 

Nielsen has combined its current panel data with Smart TV/STB data to create a second linear C3/C7 TV currency. This puts two Nielsen data sets/currencies into the marketplace during the ramp to ‘22/’23 Upfront (the existing panel-based C3/C7 currency, plus this new Big Data C3/C7 currency).

Why is VAB calling to halt its release?

We applaud all efforts to develop more progressive, modern measurement solutions and champion those who put them into the marketplace. However, our first priority will always be safeguarding the industry from data that is inaccurate and unclear, particularly that which is held up as “currency grade.”  After analyzing the first released month (Sept 2021) of Nielsen’s “Big Data,” we have deep concerns that have compelled us to demand that Nielsen halt its release of its “Big Data.” Those concerns include:  

  1. Illogical audience patterns and contradictions to historical viewing behaviors when comparing Big Data vs. current panel data. 
    • For example, unexplainable demographic audience shifts within the same dayparts -showing significant audience gains on Persons 2+ and P18-49, but also simultaneous declines on P25-54. 
    • For example, within Sports, there are instances where Live Same Day ratings are down, while Persons Using TV stats for those same programs are up double digits.
  2. Lack of a meaningful level of disclosures, verifications or explanations as to how “Big Data” was/is calculated.
    • For example, no information on ACR data calculation methodology has been disclosed, nor has information on how ACR & STB data are being combined.
  3. This “Big Data” C3/C7 currency is planned to be available to trade on for the ‘22/’23 Upfront season, not allowing nearly enough time for the industry to have complete confidence in the accuracy of the information and understand the differences between the two currencies. 

What is the VAB requesting?

VAB is asking Nielsen to hold on issuing any further C3/C7 Big Data until the issues above are addressed with full transparency to the industry.    

Our Measurement Innovation Task Force, comprised of the senior researchers on the sell-side, is ready to work with Nielsen on addressing these issues.  We are willing to dedicate our time and resources to help put them on a better course towards better measurement.   

As always, we will continue to keep you informed.

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