It’s certainly no secret that media people have beefs with Nielsen, and every so often they like to clear the air. Last week the American Association of Advertising Agencies, also known as the 4A’s, released a white paper asking Nielsen to address problems with the paper diary system that’s currently used in 154 markets. The paper, from a media measurement committee co-chaired by Jon Cogan, director of investment research and insights at Annalect, and Brad Adgate, senior vice president and director of research Horizon Media, notes $7.5 billion in advertising was spent in those markets last year. The paper also discussed a new method being used by Nielsen to measure in non-local people meter markets and stressed the importance of being proactive in addressing the concerns levied by media people. Cogan and Adgate talk to Media Life about changes they’d like to see from Nielsen, why Media Rating Council involvement is needed, and whether we’ll ever see electronic meters in every market.
Why does the paper diary method persist in this digital age?
Jon Cogan: Economics are the main reason.
Stations in smaller markets cannot afford to fund electronic measurement. In addition, when electronic measurement is implemented, ratings for broadcast stations tend to decrease and cable ratings increase. Thus stations have no incentive to pay for better methodology, which would ultimately hurt ratings.