It has been decades since Nielsen was in the business of radio ratings, but they are back and have just delivered the first round of stats in their new markets.
Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey says he is “quite pleased” with the results. That’s a good thing since it was his company that brought Nielsen in to launch the new service and has subscribed to it in all 51 of their markets.
Here is a more detailed comment and analysis from Mr. Dickey as quoted in RBR/TVBR:
“The sample far exceeded their targets and was a dramatic improvement over our previous ratings service. The Nielsen data is simply more reliable due to a much larger and more inclusive sample frame. The bottom line is that advertisers, programmers and management all make decisions based upon a discrete set of numbers provided by the ratings service. Unlike the political polls quoted in the media which are invariably accompanied with the rejoinder of ‘margin of error,’ AQH share numbers never are. If the consumer of this information – advertiser, programmer or seller – knew the magnitude of the margin of error, they would view it quite skeptically if not disregard it all together,” said Dickey.
With Arbitron’s Personal People Meter (PPM) technology getting mixed reviews, I am sure that many are keeping an eye on Nielsen’s efforts. Clear Channel is using the new service in 17 markets so it will be interesting to see their comments on the comparative value of each approach.
The data released was gathered this past Spring with a release date of August so that Nielsen would have time to get their software operational. Even though there have been some reported snags in the client download process, all 51 markets received their data on time last week. As someone who works on the Internet, I am well aware of the issues and troubleshooting required of all newly implemented software and must say I’m quite impressed with their handling of the launch.
In the future, we will be seeing, according to Nielsen’s plan, eight-week long survey periods with the collated data being released six weeks after the period ends. The sweep for the twice yearly markets involved (Huntsville, AL, and Shreveport, LA) begins next week with data delivery set to happen on the six-week schedule.
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