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A New ‘e-screener’ Will Help Nielsen Improve Proportionality of Its Ratings Panels.

Buzz Knight, Catherine Herkovic, Bruce Hoynoski, Jennifer Carton, Christine Pierce (L-R)

The new method of screening PPM panelists is “intended to improve return rates on a survey that we're doing to get information on potential respondents,” Bruce Hoynoski, Measurement Science Business Leader, Global Audience Measurement, Nielsen, told the NAB Show conference on Monday. The goal is to gather information that can be used as the company begins monitoring the demographic representation of its panels and samples to be able to deploy in-sample respondents to help to improve proportionality. Hoynoski said the testing has been “very successful” with one more test planned for June or July before rolling out a “full deployment” of the e-screener in December.

Further down the road, Nielsen is moving “very aggressively” to bring to radio the sampling procedure it has used for years at television. Known as area probability, it allows Nielsen to improve response rates. The plan is to pool replacement panelists from so-called ratings refusers, interview them and collect their demographic info. From there, Nielsen would select those households or persons in the demos the panel is most deficient in. “We think this is going to have a fairly significant impact with regard to proportionality,” Hoynoski said. The approach involves multiple systems in the Nielsen ratings sausage factory. The measurement giant has what he called “a very large team that is meeting on a weekly basis to go through and map out all of the changes that are necessary on this.” The goal is to implement area probability within the next couple of years. “I think it's going to be a game changer with regards to PPM.”

78% of Panelists Now Using ‘Wearables’

Nielsen rolled out its new wearable PPM devices in September 2021 with the belief that the smaller form factor devices would increase compliance and carry times compared to those produced by the bulkier legacy PPM 360 device. Now Jennifer Carton Senior VP, Product Management, Nielsen says wearable penetration is at 78% across the PPM markets. Some markets are higher, others are lower. Based on the current trajectory, Nielsen expects to be at about 90% penetration by the end of this year.

When rolling out the miniaturized meters, which take the form of a wristband or a pedant worn around the neck, a portion of the panel was newly recruited. Another portion of the panel was existing panelists who swapped their old meters for the new wearables. Swapping devices has allowed Nielsen to compare in-tab rates before and after the meter change. “The wearable has increased in-tab rates across the board. And the largest increase that we see as in the younger demos,” Carton told the NAB Show crowd. In addition, panelists are “habituating” to the meter faster. Nielsen has seen an across the board increase in the number of newly joined panelists that “habituate” in 30-60 days, Carton said.

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