Inside Radio: Monthly Diary Ratings Are Finally Here. What Happens Next?

Despite ongoing client resistance over price, Nielsen has rolled out Continuous Diary Measurement to the first five of 46 diary markets set to receive the new service. But the list of initial clients who have agreed to pay the rate hike for monthly ratings is missing many of Nielsen’s biggest diary market clients. And the company has yet to say when it will implement the new system in markets currently measured twice a year.
On Tuesday, Nielsen released July 2019 currency ratings for Baton Rouge, Louisville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Puerto Rico. Based on a three-month sample, the survey period covers April 25-July 17. The remaining 41 market reports will be delivered by Aug. 23.
Nielsen identified iHeartMedia, Univision, Midwest Communications, Tyler Media, QueenB Radio, Southern Stone Communications and Bahakel Communications as clients that have signed up for the upgrade. Absent are big diary market clients including Entercom, Cumulus Media, Townsquare Media Group, Cox Media Group, Urban One, Saga Communications and others.

The long list of no-shows is likely due to client resistance over having to pay extra for the new service. As Inside Radio reported in April, multiple clients said they were broadsided by the price increase and that it wasn’t disclosed early enough in the process. Some insisted they wouldn’t upgrade to the enhanced service, choosing instead to stick with the existing cadence of quarterly or twice a year reports. “Everyone was trying to play chicken with Nielsen,” says one broadcaster, meaning some clients hoped that by refusing to pay for the enhancement, Nielsen would ultimately make the add-on available at no extra charge.

Another reason for the short list is some clients may be waiting to negotiate when their contract renewals come up.

Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw, who chairs the Nielsen Audio Advisory Council and helped rescue CDM from being stillborn after the rate increase uproar, is hopeful other companies will see the value of monthly ratings. “I believe it’s going to be beneficial for our stations and for the credibility of our industry,” he told Inside Radio. “If after the rollout, others see the value, maybe they will jump on board. In the meantime, Nielsen is committed to doing it in those markets and that’s great.”

Brian Kaminsky, President of Revenue and Data Operations at iHeartMedia, said Tuesday in a press release that monthly ratings enable radio to give advertisers “the most timely and relevant information possible and will have more stable and actionable insights for how audiences are engaging with our content.”

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