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Nielsen Completes Overhaul of Local TV Business, Achieves Milestone in Multiyear Effort to Transform Measurement In 208 Markets Across the U.S.

4 minute read | October 2019

Extensive Quality and Stability Improvements Position Clients and Nielsen for the Future

New York, NY — Oct. 3, 2019 — Nielsen announced today that it has achieved a major milestone in its multiyear effort to combine advanced meter technology, big data and people-powered panels into its Local TV measurement service. This sweeping transformation delivers clients complete, in-depth, accurate metrics that are representative of what people are actually viewing in local broadcast markets. Today’s announcement of new currency measurement marks the capstone of a comprehensive overhaul across 208 local markets.

“As the currency provider for TV measurement, Nielsen is the reliable, independent, source of truth that the market trades on daily,” said Catherine Herkovic, EVP and Managing Director, Nielsen Local TV. “We have built a business on trust, integrity and transparency. Our local TV measurement solutions reflect this with innovative technology and big data, validated by scientifically designed panels for TV and cross-platform measurement. Only Nielsen provides this to the marketplace. We are thrilled to bring these improvements to the market as we continue to provide best-in-class trusted measurement.”

In partnership with clients, Nielsen implemented a range of improvements with the goal of providing the marketplace unbiased, higher quality, more reliable measurement with greater stability and less variation from week to week. These enhancements kicked off with the replacement of paper diary measurement with electronic measurement in 137 designated market areas (DMAs) in summer 2018.

Starting tomorrow, delivery of data in the 71 remaining DMAs features the deployment of Portable People Meter (PPM) measurement integrated with existing TV panels in all 25 Local People Meter markets and 19 Set-Meter markets. The inclusion of PPM measurement has significant benefits for clients as it creates a panel that, on average, doubles the number of households and people in samples that produce the Nielsen Local TV ratings. The balance of the 27 markets receiving data tomorrow feature the integration of return path data and National People Meter homes in 12 Set-Meter and 15 Code Reader markets. This addition of 2 million+ return path data households and national panel homes provides clients increased sample size for improved stability and reliability.  

“The local TV environment has changed and the industry has long awaited developments in measurement that capture the myriad viewing preferences of our audiences,” said Wendy McMahon, President of ABC Owned Television Stations Group. “Nielsen’s Local TV measurement delivers greater accuracy and stability on the audience’s size and composition giving us a better understanding of audience behavior and delivering greater ROI to our advertisers. The ABC Owned TV Stations are already seeing gains across all dayparts with these advancements in measurement.”

“We support the hard work that Nielsen has put into evolving the local TV measurement business,” said Kathy Doyle, EVP, Local Investment, IPG/Magna. “We believe the future of video measurement requires a combination of big data sets and panels, and we applaud Nielsen’s efforts to bring that paradigm to local television.”

“Nielsen’s measurement enhancements will bring heightened stability and accuracy to the viewing estimates,” said Kevin Stuart, Vice President, Research for Hearst Television. “Out-of-home measurement will also demonstrate we’re capturing larger audiences for marquee events such as NFL and College Football.”

Nielsen also has plans to expand its cross-platform reach to continue to provide the most accurate, complete and connected measurement available to local broadcasters, agencies and advertisers. As media fragmentation continues across TV, mobile and digital devices, Nielsen remains the trusted source of measuring what people are viewing, regardless of location and device. And as the industry evolves, Nielsen is supportive of the critical adoption of impressions-based transacting.

“We have built a business on the foundation of trust, integrity and transparency,” Herkovic continued. “Nielsen data represents everyone. Being able to measure local TV in a way that represents all races, ages, ethnicities and behaviors is more critical than ever. Only Nielsen offers a complete, unbiased, holistic view of local audiences.” 

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Our approach marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around the world understand what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and how to best act on this knowledge. For more than 90 years Nielsen has provided data and analytics based on scientific rigor and innovation, continually developing new ways to answer the most important questions facing the media, advertising, retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries.

An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit



Dawn Rowan