Nielsen plots shift to impressions-based measurement in 2022

Embattled TV measurement firm Nielsen will push toward impressions-based buying and selling in local markets to improve its metrics that have come under fire from programmers.

The company said the move to impressions will occur in conjunction with the integration of broadband-only homes into Nielsen's local measurement metrics in January 2022. Launching an impressions-based currency will deliver a more complete, precise and representative audience measurement, the company said, while enabling cross-platform audience measurement.

"Nielsen is committed to measuring all audiences and the complete video consumption across the local marketplace," said Nielsen CEO David Kenny in a statement. "Impressions are the great equalizer across all screens, programs, listeners and viewers. Nielsen's move to prioritize reporting impressions will help standardize the way it measures ads and content, enabling greater comparability across National, Local and Digital and is in line with Nielsen's initiative to drive comparable metrics which are foundational to Nielsen ONE."

RELATED: Media Rating Council suspends Nielsen accreditations

Nielsen had previously announced a broadband-only implementation date of October 2021 but pushed implementation to January 2022 so it can publish an official BBO UE that will be audited and reviewed by the Media Rating Council (MRC). In addition to delivering one month of impact data, a January implementation will include all BBO homes, which will increase reporting sample sizes and capture impressions that may be missing, especially for sports and OTT.

Today’s announcement comes after earlier this month the MRC served Nielsen with two votes of no confidence and suspended its accreditation.

“While we are disappointed that the situation has come to this, we believe these are the proper actions for the MRC to take at this time,” said MRC CEO and executive director George Ivie in a statement. “MRC’s Board of Directors, which represents an extremely broad range of industry constituencies, and includes advertisers, agencies, and media companies of all types, is strongly unified in its positions on these matters.”

In August, Discovery CEO David Zaslav slammed Nielsen over its “antiquated system of measurement.

“You have Google and Facebook, you have these technology companies. They know exactly who’s watching, they know exactly who they are, what they’re buying, what they want to read,” he said during a MoffettNathanson investor conference. “And we’re dealing with this antiquated system of measurement that advertisers love because they can rely on something that fundamentally undercounts all of us. As great as our industry is, we haven’t been able to get Nielsen to get their act together.”