Media Rating Council has pulled its accreditation of Nielsen measurement in its 154 diary-only markets, effective back to 2009.
The decision affects the smaller TV markets around the country, with the larger ones featuring Local People Meters and set-top meters.
The MRC is an independent outfit tasked with making sure audience measurement performs at a certain standard. MRC senior vice president-associate director Anthony Torrieri would not discuss why MRC yanked its accreditation for diary-only markets, saying the information was confidential for MRC members. "We don't go public with that information," he added.
Insiders say the problem stems from Nielsen shifting its recruitment tactics in diary markets. With more of the population dropping their land lines for cellphones, Nielsen has opted for address-based recruiting of Nielsen homes in its diary markets, as opposed to the old method of selecting by phone number. The new method resulted in sample sizes coming up short in two of the four quarters in 2009.
That prompted the MRC, according to station insiders, to pull its accreditation until Nielsen gets its sample issues in order.