Nielsen’s Hispanic Problem
You may remember last month the story of Nielsen recalling seven months of radio ratings for the LA Metro due to inaccurate PPM reporting. As it turns out the suspicious PPM activity came from four Hispanic panelists, whose exclusion from the revised ratings dramatically decreased overall Hispanic ratings in the market. The LA decision has now touched off a bigger controversy involving Nielsen’s measurement weighting of all Hispanic audiences.
One of the nation’s top Hispanic radio broadcasters, Spanish Broadcasting Systems (SBS), is taking Nielsen to task for, “seemingly discriminatory actions taken, which unfairly and disproportionately exclude Hispanic-listener households from the ratings methodology.” SBS’s complaint is not only about the LA revision, but also about Nielsen’s decision to reduce the measurement weighting given to all Hispanic panelists. (For some quick background, Nielsen regularly weights up/down niche segments like Hispanic and AA to get the response percentages to match those segments’ population percentages.)
Nielsen is defending itself against SBS’s charges by saying, “In April, we indexed at 100 for Hispanic Spanish Dominant which means that the proportion of the in-tab sample equaled the percent of the population. In March, we indexed at 99.” Regardless of whether Nielsen is accurately weighting Hispanics in their ratings formula, it’s just one more example of a bad radio measurement system hurting the industry it’s supposed to serve in the first place.