Nielsen New 375

In a major change to its diary-based radio service, Nielsen is bringing year-round monthly ratings reports to diary markets. All 200+ markets will get 12 currency-grade ratings reports a year, instead of the existing cadence of quarterly or semi-annual reports. Nielsen will do this by allocating its existing diary sample across 12 months. “We’re going to take all the sample and spread it over 12 months,” using 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month rolling samples, Nielsen senior VP of Product Leadership Bill Rose explained to ad agency clients Thursday afternoon.

The currency reports will be based on a minimum in-tab of 1,000 respondents.

Speaking on a Thursday afternoon webinar, Rose outlined the benefits of continuous diary measurement to ad agency clients. The more timely data “will make the currency more current,” he said, so advertisers can react faster to market changes for more impactful schedules. In addition, reporting periods for radio will be better aligned with those of TV and digital, which is better suited for Marketing Mix Modelling, the complex tools marketers use to allocate their media spend. “We’re trying to match their sales data with the most recent media information and the more connected they are, the more it will measure a lift in sales,” Rose said. This will give marketers a better appreciation of radio’s contribution to the sales impact, he explained.

And relying on rolling monthly samples and 1,000 in-tab minimums will help improve the stability of the ratings. “It’s hard when the numbers bounce around,” Rose said. “These rolling averages will add greatly to the stability.”

The conversion to continuous measurement will be done in phases, starting in July 2019 with diary markets that are currently measured four times a year. These 47 markets will get 12 currency-grade reports, based on a three-month sample, starting with the May/June/July 2019 report period, which will be released in August. After that, these markets will get a new report each month, with the oldest month’s data dropping off and the new month added in. While broadcast clients in these 47 markets already have access to monthly Arbitrends, those 3-month averages aren’t ratings currency that radio can be bought and sold on. Among the Phase 1 markets are Albuquerque, Des Moines, Louisville, New Orleans and Wichita. Adding these 47 diary markets to the 48 PPM markets means that 80% of radio ad spend will have monthly reporting, starting in mid-2019.

Phase 2 involves mid-sized diary markets that have a sample target of 1,000 respondents. Currently measured twice a year in the spring and fall, they will convert to twelve 6-month sample currency reports. Rose said the company is working now on the timing for this group of markets. After that it plans to turn its attention to markets with an in-tab of less than 1,000, which will have a twelve-month survey period released each month. These markets currently get two quarterly reports per year, based on two-book averages (Spring/Fall and Fall Spring).

Rose said the company is working on a system to do multi-book averages by using non-overlapping surveys so that a month wouldn’t be counted twice. “You can’t average averages,” he explained.

Leading up to the July 2019 changeover, Nielsen is planning an all-clients webinar (broadcasters, advertisers and agencies) for early 2019.

Rose summed up the benefits of the diary service upgrade. “First and foremost, it’s really crucial to use the current currency for buying and planning. It will be the best reflection of what’s happening in the market and what's happening with your schedule,” Rose said. “You’ll be able to see the effects of your schedule almost immediately.”