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Nielsen Bulletin Board

Nielsen Bulletin Board

Stay up to Date on What You’re Paying for!


The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. appreciate the opportunity to keep you informed with clear, simple, no-spin explanations of changes in Nielsen’s services. But what we really love is providing our clients with tools and insights to help them grow their ratings, increase their revenue, save time, and bolster their credibility. If your team could use help with that, let’s chat.

June 2024 Pre-Survey Bulletin – May 2024

Nielsen has posted the June 2024 PPM Pre-Survey Bulletin, which provide radio stations, advertisers, agencies, and other subscribers’ information regarding the report period specification changes and key dates. Download the updated documents through the Nielsen portal in the Audio Workspace section.

Updates to Nielsen Scarborough Survey – April 2024

The categories found in Nielsen Scarborough are always evolving to keep up with changes in consumer behavior. There are some useful updates effective with Release 1 2024. Contact your Nielsen Account Executive for a detailed list.

Q1 2024 PPM Panel Characteristics Report – April 2024

The Q1 2024 PPM Panel Additional Characteristics report is now available on the Nielsen portal. This report has additional demographic breakdowns of various categories including household income, ethnicity, automotive, technology, and others. It can be downloaded by going to the Audio Workspace and clicking Nielsen PPM, PPM Panel, PPM Characteristics Report.

Spring 2024 Pre-Survey Bulletin – March 2024

Nielsen has posted the Spring 2024 diary Radio Pre-Survey Bulletin, which provide radio stations, advertisers, agencies, and other subscribers’ information regarding the report period specification changes and key dates. Download the updated documents through the Nielsen portal in the Audio Workspace section.

Spring 2024 Nielsen Audio Blue Book – March 2024

Nielsen has released their Spring 2024 “Blue Book,” which provides population estimates and rankings for their measured markets. Based on updated data from the U.S. Census and other sources, market rankings may shift from year to year. Download the updated document through the Nielsen portal in the Audio Workspace section.

mSurvey Will Replace Paper Diaries in 2025 – August 2023

Nielsen is moving forward with its initiative to replace paper diaries with mobile diaries with an app called mSurvey. Extensive testing has been conducted, and that will continue through the first half of 2025. Full implementation is planned for the second half of 2025.

Nielsen Allows for Self-Led Remote Diary Reviews – August 2023

Nielsen is allowing clients or designated reps to conduct self-led remote diary reviews beginning with the Spring 2023 survey. Due to security concerns and software limitations they had required a Nielsen analyst complete the review but these rules are being relaxed in favor of a self-led review.

Media Ratings Council Restores Accreditation for Nielsen – April 2023

After the MRC suspended its accreditation in late 2021, they voted to restore it this week. They have not reinstated the local market measurement accreditation, only the national measurement accreditation.

Nielsen ONE Is Ready for General Release – February 2023

Nielsen ONE hopes to provide “four screen de-duplicated reach and frequency.” Their goal is to provide de-duplicated measurement and merge their units that measure linear and streaming TV. The ANA North Star, which was a plan published by the Association of National Advertisers, is playing a major role in shaping Nielsen’s goal for cross-media measurement.

Annual Population Updates – October 2022

Each year, effective with the October/Fall survey, updated population data are incorporated into Nielsen’s radio audience estimates. Nielsen uses population estimates in order to model its sample as similarly to the population as possible – demographically, ethnically, and geographically. For example, if 20% of a market’s population is Hispanic, Nielsen will attempt to compose its sample of 20% Hispanics. Therefore, this can affect weighting, which can in turn affect the ratings.

Population estimates are based on the most recent Census and projected for the upcoming year based on third-party vendor data.

PPM Will Be Used to Supplement Out of Home (OOH) Television Viewing – August 2022

Nielsen is working to enhance the CBET watermarks used in its PPM panel to prepare for the changes of average minute to sub-minute television viewing. The company is using a technology they are calling StreamFP, to update the tones that broadcasters encode into their audio signals. These updates need to be made so that the out-of-home estimates are consistent with the in-home measurements.

20% of PPM Panelists Converted to Wearable Meters – August 2022

50% to 75% of panelists will be converted to wearables by the end of 2022, with the remaining coming in 2023. July 2022’s Designated Delivery Index averaged 107 for Persons 12+. Nielsen is seeing longer carry times and higher in-tab rates during the panelists’ first 28 days.

Nielsen Sale Announced – March 2022

Nielsen is going private. A group of private equity investors are purchasing the company for $16 billion, including debt. The planned closing will take place in the second half of 2022, pending approval from Nielsen shareholders and regulators.

PPM Wearables – March 2022

Nielsen has been testing its new PPM Wearables, which include wristbands, pendants, and clips. This technology is “part of Nielsen’s continued efforts to modernize its panels and improve the panelist experience, drive broader adoption among existing and new panelists and increase engagement among more challenging demographics.” In late March, Nielsen revealed that the results of the test were successful, with the wearables showing longer carry times and similar listening to the traditional PPM device.

Wearables will begin rolling out to live panels in April, and Nielsen’s goal is to have 50-75% of panelists using these wearables by the end of 2022.

Nielsen Addresses Impacts of COVID-19 and Global Supply Chain Issues – January 2022

Nielsen has shared its plans with clients to ensure reporting continuity and accuracy of audience estimates in the face of the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic.  The company will continue to execute a combination of in-person and remote activities to “ensure stable in-tab performance,” taking into account COVID-19 risks among Nielsen field employees and panelists. In-tab levels are also impacted by global supply chain issues, which have made it more difficult for Nielsen to keep up with the demand for new PPM devices. Nielsen expects in-tab levels to return to current levels by late February or early March.

COVID-19 Guidance Statement Discontinued – October 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected radio listening, especially early on when many businesses were forced to close. Nielsen had been issuing statements to stations and advertisers concerning the use of its ratings for buying and planning purposes. Nielsen’s statement reads as follows:

Given the anomalous nature of audience behavior during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, it is Nielsen’s position that future buying and planning decisions for periods that fall outside the COVID-19 crisis should not be made using COVID-19 impacted audience estimates.

Effective with the October 2021 PPM survey, October 2021 (August-October) diary CDM survey, and Fall 2021 diary 2-book market survey, Nielsen no longer plans to issue these statements due to radio listening levels rebounding.

Nielsen Audio Subscriber First Reporting Policy – October 2020

Nielsen is now reporting only subscribing stations in the Summary Data Set, used primarily by agencies and media buyers. Non-subscribers will only appear in respondent-level data, which is more expensive. If you have questions about what data your station uses, contact your Nielsen Account Executive.

Nielsen is making a couple exceptions and will, regardless of subscriber status, include any minority-owned station (Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Female) that do not exceed annual revenue thresholds, as well as non-profit stations either publicly owned or holding 501(c)(3) tax status.

This took effect with the March 2021 survey in PPM markets and March 2021 (January/February/March) survey for Continuous Diary Measurement markets. It will take effect with the Spring 2021 survey for 2-book diary markets.

PPM Headphone Adjustment – September 2020

The PPM device can only detect wired headphone listening if panelists use a special adaptor, and there is no way for it to detect wireless headphone listening. Nielsen will be using modeling to estimate missed headphone listening beginning with the October 2020 survey. This will affect the ratings for encoded station streams, and Nielsen projects an increase in total market listening (PUMM) of 2% to 5%.

Please note: The headphone adjustment is not reflected in the PPM Analysis Tool or Weeklies data at this time. Nielsen hopes to have this complete in early 2021.

PPM Outlier Mitigation – September 2020

With PPM panel sizes, one listener or household with abnormally heavy listening can lead to unusual increases in a station’s ratings. If a panelist’s listening to a single station exceeds the 99.5th percentile and the household accounts for at least half of the station’s total listening, Nielsen will decrease the listening to match the heaviest listener from another household. These households will still be included in total market listening (PUMM). This adjustment began with the October 2020 survey.