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Nielsen Makes Policy Change To Help Small Minority-Owned Broadcasters.

Nielsen has updated its broadcaster reporting policy with an eye toward providing more equity and inclusion for minority-owned broadcasters. Starting with the January 2021 PPM monthly report, the reported estimates for non-subscribing minority-owned stations and non-profit stations will no longer be limited to those meeting a listening threshold. Black-, Hispanic-, and female-owned stations and non-profits will be reported in the summary level datasets if they have one or more mentions in the metro.

Currently Nielsen reports subscribing stations with one or more mentions plus all other stations with a 0.1+ AQH Rating, Mon-Sun., 6am-midnight. The new policy will allow more minority-owned and nonprofit stations to show up in the summary level dataset.

To qualify, a minority-owned broadcaster’s annual revenue must be less than $7 million per market at the cluster level. Non-profits will also be listed, providing they are publicly owned or hold a 501C3 tax status. The summary level dataset is the one used by software providers for the buying community.

“Media planner and buyers will be able to see your station as long as it meets the threshold and criteria,” Stacie de Armas, Senior VP for Community Alliances, Nielsen Global Media, told attendees of the Broadcaster Access To Capital Virtual Symposium, held Friday. “That makes minority broadcasters’ data available to agencies and planners who have summary dataset subscriptions from Nielsen,” de Armas said. “We think this is a really great move toward equity and inclusion and we’re really proud to bring it forward.”

The change is part of Nielsen’s “Subscriber First” policy change, which will eliminate listening data for non-subscribing stations in the summary dataset.

Using the June 2020 PPM survey, Nielsen conducted a quick review of stations that would qualify as minority-owned broadcasters and meet its criteria for inclusion under the new policy. It found about 113 stations in PPM markets that will qualify to be listed under the new plan.

In a separate equity and inclusion initiative, Nielsen will expand the choice of names that stations can select from to self-identify their format in Nielsen ratings reports. Starting with first quarter 2021, Urban Contemporary stations can stick with that identifier or use the option of Hip Hop/R&B. Urban Adult Contemporary stations can choose to be identified as R&B. And Urban Oldies stations can select to be designated as R&B oldies. Nielsen says it’s adding the options in response to marketplace requests.

“We’re not taking any options away from anybody,” de Armas said. “We’re adding additional ways for you to self-identify. We think that’s the right direction. We think that for some broadcasters, that’s a choice they may choose to make for business reasons. And others may choose to stay with the format that their clients and the brands they work with have come to love them as.”

Later during the “Nielsen Media Ratings Measurements for Diverse Media Owners” session, Jon Miller, VP of Audience Insights, provided an update on how the measurement giant is doing in representing minority audiences in its ratings surveys. In the October PPM survey, Nielsen is above target across the board. It over-indexed for all persons 6+ (at 109), over-indexed in Black (118) and Hispanic (115) representation, based on a target of 100 where the proportion of the population segment in the sample exactly matches its proportion in the market population. It’s something Nielsen has taken heat for in the past and has since worked to “make sure we are representing everybody equally in a good way across all of our panels,” Miller said. In the continuously measured diary markets the 6+ in-tab is 6% above its sample target (indexing at 106). Black is more or less on target (indexing at 99) but Hispanics are under-represented, indexing at 84, unchanged from 2019. “Hispanic is something we’re continuing to work on,” Miller said. “Our goal is to deliver every single cell at 100 or above.”

Miller also updated attendees on the recent headphone listening ratings adjustment, and the latest listening metrics and the results of the new wave of its consumer sentiment study.

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