Posted on January 8th, 2016 By Mark Toney
Effective December 31, 2015 demographic data reported by Nielsen in all but the top 25 TV markets will be unaccredited. The move follows Nielsen's decision to drop paper diaries -- a nearly century-old measurement method -- for estimating the demographic composition of audiences in its 31 "set-metered" market ratings and all 154 diary only markets to begin using new, as-yet-unaccredited methods for calculating who is watching television. In place of the paper diaries, Nielsen has introduced a new method, a mathematical modeling technique that Nielsen calls “viewer assignment” that extrapolates audience estimates.
In a nutshell, the viewer assignment method mathematically models and ascribes audience estimates for non-people meter markets with data generated from its people meter sample. The new viewer assignment method is treating the behaviors of people in one sample -- the national people meter respondents -- in a way that is representative of viewers in non-people meter households. This new methodology is meant to derive demographic data for stations in smaller markets from larger local people-meter markets, some located far away.
We could use this space and reams of paper to discuss the pros and cons of this approach – but we won’t. Viewer Assignment is here and now the question is what does your station do about it.
Here are three key items and action steps your station needs to take now that Viewer Assignment is here.