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Nielsen Whisper

Nielsen Whisper

Research Question:  Are local broadcasters increasingly leaving Nielsen as its local measurement strategies fail to produce accurate enough results?

Report Available: June 5, 2015


Blueshift’s initial research shows NLSN is in the process of executing changes that will better measure audience consumption of video media in local markets. However, local broadcasters that switched to RENT have expressed more accurate results, and now larger clients such as Viacom and CNBC have sought alternatives for TV ratings and VOD measurement. Out-of-home consumption includes television viewing in airports​


  1. NLSN fell short on its recent earnings announcement but the company still continued to grow its Buy and Watch business segments. The company highlighted its 10% growth in emerging markets, and plans to improve data collection methods for local clients. British advertising conglomerate WPP recently announced its desire to be the industry standard for both online and offline measurement, at least outside of the U.S. to start.
  2. NLSN competitor RENT is significantly growing its TV Everywhere business and successfullystealing local broadcaster and agency clientele from NLSN due to its larger, more stable sample sizes collected from DISH, DTV, and AT&T U-verse. RENT is undercutting market pricing to win business, which may put pressure on its own margins and could certainly affect NLSN’s margins as well. NLSN has been accused of not keeping up with consumers’ changing media habits. The company also receives criticism that its sample size is too small to accurately measure smaller local markets, which cause inconsistent results for its local clientele.
  3. NLSN claimed victory last quarter, commenting that its watch segment has never been so strong and noted that all of its national and local clients had renewed their contracts. Much noise has surfaced regarding NLSN’s local business as ratings and analytics competitors, specifically RENT, attempt to steal share from the giant. NLSN believes the breadth of its services and its focus on improving local market coverage will trump any threat brought on by potential competition.
  4. Our June 7, 2012 report found NLSN holding onto share in its buy segment, but was moving too slowly to keep up with rapid changes in the data analytics business. NLSN dominated in the broadcast ratings market and competed on equal footing with SCOR in the digital ratings market.


To gain insight into NLSN and the local broadcast market, Blueshift will gather data and issue a market research report from independent sources in the following areas:  local television broadcasters, local radio stations, local cable companies, competitors, media buyers, and industry specialists.

Companies: Nielsen N.V. (NLSN), Rentrak (RENT), WPP plc (WPPGY), Comcast (CMSCA), Viacom (VIA), AT&T (T), Time Warner Cable (TWC), DIRECTV (DTV), Dish Network Corp (DISH), ComScore (SCOR)


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