New Orleans Gets Its Ratings Back
Nielsen Media Research has released the first electronic TV ratings for New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, but ad agencies and advertisers will have to wait another two weeks before they can see them.
The firm says that it made the decision to delay providing the ad industry with these figures, to give stations and cable companies time to evaluate the numbers prior to them being used in TV advertising deals. In the past two years, agencies have had to rely on historical ratings and base their projections on population estimates.
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, only homes with land phone lines were recruited for Nielsen's sample. Now the sample has been expanded to include cell-phone-only households, and data – including overnight ratings – will now be supplied using Nielsen’s meters, with personal information supplied sporadically by diary measurement.
After the hurricane, Nielsen had to recruit an entire new sample from scratch, and its impact led to the firm downgrading New Orleans from the nation's 43rd largest media market to its 54th.
In the run up to the data release, Nielsen experienced a number of technical hitches including uncovering an inconsistent share of ‘blue screen tuning’ in New Orleans, which occurs when a TV is left on after a connected device, such as a video game or DVD player, is turned off. When ‘tuning without viewing’ is detected, Nielsen omits data from that household from its ratings and they are not factored into its estimates for households using television (HUT) in the market, or nationwide.
Nielsen recently announced its plans to integrate online audience measurement with its TV household ratings system (www.mrweb.com/drno/news6926.htm ). The firm is online at www.nielsen.com.