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Nielsen’s Audio Ratings: Changes and Challenges

By: Mary White    December 1, 2020

Nielsen will make a drastic change to its radio reporting beginning January 1, 2021. In the new year, Nielsen will only provide audio ratings to stations and agencies that subscribe to Nielsen measurement. In the past, if a station did not subscribe to Nielsen measurement, agencies and current station subscribers could still view all metrics. Now, if the station does not subscribe, Nielsen will not measure it – no matter how strong the station may be in the market. Period!

This change is not being received well by stations or agencies. Nielsen charges agencies by the markets measured. Now, it is not measuring all the stations in the market, but instead only measuring those that pay. This takes the value of the Nielsen market measurement down, yet the fee for total market measurement for agencies remains the same. For stations that have been dealing with lost revenue for months due to COVID and shelter-in-place orders, this is another hit.

With radio stations and agencies outraged by this change, we remain hopeful that Nielsen will come up with a better solution. The value in Nielsen’s local radio market measurement exists in being able to view all the stations and the radio landscape. With the current plans, Nielsen is decreasing the value of its own measurement for agencies.

Because of this unfavorable change, Nielsen may not get the results it intended.