Alison Weissbrot
Apr 18, 2023

Nielsen gets its MRC accreditation back in the US

The measurement giant regains certification for its flagship national TV measurement product just ahead of 2023 upfront.

Nielsen gets its MRC accreditation back in the US

Nielsen has its stamp of legitimacy back in America just in time for the upfronts. 

On Monday, the US independent measurement group the Media Ratings Council announced that its board of directors has reinstated Nielsen’s National Television Audience Measurement (TAM) accreditation at the recommendation of its TV committee.

The news comes more than 18 months after the TV measurement giant had its MRC accreditation suspended in September 2021 due to an issue with undercounting audiences during the pandemic. 

The MRC is an independent body that enforces fair and transparent standards in media measurement. Nielsen was the only company to have accreditation for national TV prior to the suspension. 

The reaccreditation does not cover Neilsen’s digital TV ratings (dTVR), which is part of the TAM service. Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings (DAR), its use of return path and ACR data as part of the TAM service and NielsenOne, its new cross-platform measurement technology, are also still under review.

Nielsen’s Local Market Television Service, which was suspended back in September 2021 alongside its national TV service, remains suspended.

“Nielsen has undertaken strong efforts to correct the issues that led to its loss of MRC accreditation 19 months ago and to restore key aspects of its panel performance. The MRC’s audit has shown these efforts have been successful, and as a result, our TV Committee and Board agreed that accreditation should be reinstated,” George W. Ivie, executive director and CEO of the MRC, said in a statement. “That said, there is still more work to be done both in the near and long term to ensure Nielsen’s National TAM measurements continue to meet our standards and the requirements of the industry.” 

Getting its MRC accreditation reinstated just before the upfront is a big win for Nielsen, which had faced pushback from both sides of the marketplace to innovate its products prior to the suspension. 

Amid the drama, which began in May 2021 when the MRC uncovered the miscounted audiences, Nielsen has been innovating on NielsenOne, a new cross-platform currency that will replace its flagship C3 and C7 ratings starting in 2024. 

In the past year and a half the TV measurement landscape has evolved rapidly, as advertisers and media owners test new vendors, methodologies and currencies. Prior to the suspension, NBCUniversal issued an RFP for new measurement providers which led to a partnership with ISpot TV to test its products during the 2022 Beijing Olympics. On the buy side, major holding companies have been testing large-scale pilots with alternative measurement providers such as VideoAmp.

Many buyers are hopeful and expectant that NielsenOne will be a valuable tool alongside other partners. Most are still using Nielsen to transact at this year’s upfront as the industry transitions to a multi-currency marketplace.

To regain full accreditation, the MRC needs to ensure compliance and transparency around Nielsen’s plans to incorporate return path and ACR data into its methodology; see a clear commitment by Nielsen to continue to validate and improve its broadband-only household estimates; and enhanced disclosures around TV viewing variability. 

“These latter two commitments were especially critical to our decision to re-apply accreditation at this time,” Ivie said.

Campaign US

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