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Nielsen regains one Media Rating Council accreditation, but there’s still more work to be done

The news: The Media Rating Council, which upholds standards for measurement companies on behalf of the media industry, said on Monday that Nielsen has regained its approval after addressing a number of concerns.

  • The development makes Nielsen become the sole currency provider with an MRC-accredited service going into the 2023 upfronts—though Comscore will go before the MRC committee before they conclude.
  • Since September 2021, the industry has not supported Nielsen's national ratings, which are considered the gold standard for calculating TV viewership. This is because TV networks reported that Nielsen's work monitoring activity at the outset of the pandemic was lacking.
  • To earn the accreditation back, Nielsen committed to improving various weaknesses, including ensuring that the integration of set-top box data and ACR data from connected TVs is transparent. It also must refine its estimates of broadband-only households.

Analyst insight: “While having MRC accreditation for its National TV ratings product reinstated is a big deal for Nielsen, this news is just a Band-Aid,” said senior analyst Evelyn Mitchell. “Nielsen’s National TV ratings are based on an audience panel, which is susceptible to compliance issues and doesn’t have the scale needed to accurately measure viewership across all entertainment sources.”

Our take: This is a significant move for Nielsen, which has been challenged by upstarts in recent years.

  • Nielsen still has work still to do: It hasn’t recovered accreditation for its local TV ratings.
  • Nielsen One also requires MRC accreditation. The platform, billed by Nielsen as its future, has already begun to be used to track audience engagement across a variety of media channels.