Nielsen has pulled out of its sole-funding deal with client think tank the Council for Research Excellence (CRE), which was established twelve years ago to advance 'the knowledge and practice of audience measurement methodology'.
The Council is comprised of Nielsen's clients and conducts its own methodological research on audience measurement. The agency has since invested at least $10m in the venture (some reports claim as high as $20m) after providing an initial $2.5m grant to launch it. During its lifetime, CRE has completed a number of studies including the 'Video Consumer Mapping Study' involving in-person, computer assisted observation of media consumption; a set-top-box study; a non-response bias study exploring the impact of non-response to Nielsen surveys. and an exercise revealing consumers' habits immediately before, during and after watching TV commercials.
In a statement, a Nielsen spokesman thanked CRE for its contribution to the industry, adding: 'This decision is not a reflection of the organization or its work. Rather, it is based on our desire to bring greater simplicity and focus to our investments in measurement innovation. Over the years, Nielsen has increased industry engagement on the evolution of measurement through the creation of several client advisory groups and is an active participant in a range of industry organizations focused on audience measurement. Nielsen remains committed to an open and transparent dialogue with our clients as we work to advance audience measurement in today's evolving media landscape'.
At the time of going to press, the Council's web site remains live with no mention of the stoppage, but with other independent bodies conducting audience measurement research it's unclear if any version of the CRE has a future.
All articles 2006-20 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas.