Nielsen closes the door on specific TV ratings enquiries from journalists

Nielsen has confirmed to StopPress that it will no longer be fielding specific enquiries from journalists on the audience metrics of New Zealand television shows. 

Instead, the research company will provide a weekly top 20 breakdown of programmes for One, TV2, TV3, Four, Prime and Sky in the 5+ and 25-54 demographics.

Nielsen research director Tony Boyte says this change in policy is also applicable across newspapers, magazines and online.   

“Standardised audience reports will be produced each week going forward that will be made available to all journalists on request,” says Boyte. “This approach is more streamlined and enables Nielsen to better manage client service resources.”

Boyte says the change in policy is in direct response to “to the increasing number and complexity of requests” Nielsen has been receiving from journalists. 

“[These requests] have been resulting in many hours of unscheduled workload for the Nielsen client service team.”

Boyte says this decision comes off the back of a particularly busy year for the team at Nielsen. 

“During 2015 the number of audience measurement requests increased substantially from journalists and the complexity also stepped up with many journalists requesting trended data up to five or ten years in some cases,” he says.   

“Many of these requests were also being made at the last minute. As a result, Nielsen staff had to repeatedly divert away from client deliverables to deal with media requests.”

Boyte says this increase in last-minute requests could be “due to the nature of online media, with the ability and need to update stories on a constant basis,” but adds that he has no proof of this.

Limiting the ratings data to single report of the top 20 shows on weekly basis will certainly be faster, but it will also make it difficult for journalists to follow up on shows that aren’t performing as well.

Boyte says that journalists interested in additional ratings data will now have to go directly to the networks to obtain that information. 

Sky already has a policy of not sharing its ratings data with the media, and it is possible that the other networks could follow suit, particularly if the ratings for a show aren’t strong.

This change in policy has also impacted TV ratings blog Throng, which has until now depended on Nielsen ratings to provides its daily rundown of the performance of shows. 

When asked about Nielsen’s partnership with Throng, Boyte said: “Throng no longer has a contract with Nielsen to produce TV ratings.”

Throng is yet to respond to an email StopPress sent out earlier today. 

UPDATE: Throng closed down on 18 December

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