Nielsen Accreditation Hiatus – What Does This Mean for Advertisers

What’s the Issue?

MRC’s recent decision to withhold Nielsen’s accreditation has contributed to the growing confusion regarding consumer media consumption.  Though Nielsen has fended off attempts by competitors to displaced them as the “gold standard”, this most recent issue portends much deeper and potentially long-lasting disruption to the media ecosystem.

How Important is MRC Accreditation?

The MRC is the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for the media industry as media vendors and advertisers have long relied on the MRC to validate the work of companies that provide advertising-related research.

Though Nielsen continues to provide data to the industry, its lack of accreditation undermines its ability to continue as the “gold standard”, thereby opening the door for competitors to aggressively push their services.  Further, it contributes to weakening media vendor obligations to provide independent, validated, and generally accepted “proof of service”.

So, What Happens Next?

We expect Nielsen will be willing to aggressively modify its processes and protocols to gain MRC accreditation to ensure it is compliant with its numerous client contracts and to fend off competitors. 

We point out that no current competitors including ComScore, have obtained MRC accreditation as well.

Increasingly, we see media vendors pushing media agencies to accept their independent, unvetted research as currency for their satisfaction with media delivery.  This “secret sauce” offers advertisers no ‘line of sight into the source and management of this data, and as such, we believe our clients should seriously challenge their agency buyers to justify their use.

Moving Forward.

AMI+Partners has maintained a constant monitor of the various research and media vendors and at this time recommends our continued reliance on Nielsen data pending the emergence of a truly superior, validated competitive solution.