Nielsen Moving to Electronic Monitoring Is Newsworthy (Because It’s About Time)!

Each year for the past four or five years I’ve participated in the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Media Day. It’s a day when we take 50 esteemed business executives out to educate them about the media industry and the make-up of the Tampa-St. Petersburg DMA.

Each year when we get to broadcast television, and they hear about how Nielsen provides ratings in which all of these huge broadcast channels determine rates that they are charging us – the looks of disbelief and questions abound. What? Paper diaries? In just a few hundred houses? Houses that are forced by cable providers to have current technology and in which most households have multiple devices that connect to the Internet?

It hasn’t made sense in a long time, but why innovate when you’re the only game in town? Good news for the advertising and entertainment industry is that due to some competitive pressure – Nielsen will work to embrace technology and attain viewer data/ratings through a more accurate and timely process using – wait for it – technology.

It just didn’t make sense as to why a huge and sophisticated company was failing to embrace technology and data for as long as it had. I’m sure it’s due to the costs associated and the demand relevant parties will have to do more monitoring than the company has needed to. But you – consumers, workers and business owners are buying television spots (God bless you if you still are during this political season) based on ratings. This is your hard earned money too, and the people that determine what’s happening should have the best information available.

The average: 30 second spot in local (Tampa/St. Pete) goes for about $3,800 in Primetime, $1,000 in Early Morning and $1,000 in Early News (in a non-election season). That’s not just milk money – it’s a lot of money – and finally – we can soon know it’s based on more relevant data!

Thank you Nielsen, and welcome to the (technology) party!

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