Welcoming Home Nielsen's New Leader -- Steve Lanzano -- TVB

We’d like to take a moment to congratulate Mitch Barns as the new CEO of Nielsen. Assuming the leadership position for a company that is near the epicenter of today’s complicated television industry is a daunting task, and we wish you well in leading Nielsen during this exciting time.

For those of us on the local side of the business, we are encouraged to see someone who has been heavily involved with local measurement take on this position. Nielsen is a company with more moving parts than most, and quite a few of them reside on the local side of the business.

To help get the ball rolling, here are some things that are on the minds of Local TV Broadcasters. We’re hoping that they make your Top 10 list, too.

State of the Art Thinking. The local television business is alive and thriving. Local television consistently supports local businesses in highly visible ways – and local businesses are where the rubber really meets the road with the American economy. And yet, measuring advertisers’ ability to connect with consumers in the hotbed of day-to-day commerce continues to lag behind Nielsen’s national measurement products. We’d like to see local measurement take the lead and set the standard for measurement rather than be the last to benefit from it. What needs to happen to raise the quality and commitment to local measurement under your leadership? How does local get a first-crack at new techniques that can make the markets of the future?

Local Cross Platform. Viewers are connecting with content across platforms. Nowhere is that ability more critical than in local markets where local television news provides critical news and information to communities that are battling extreme weather systems, energy blackouts, wildfires and even terrorism events across all of their distribution assets. We live in an era where we can instantly inform communities with lifesaving information, such as when and where tornadoes are cropping up or how to navigate flooding conditions. Consumers are turning to mobile technologies to consume pertinent, on-the-go news in the moment. Local content providers need accurate measurement to validate and continue to support development of these critical community services.

Diary Measurement. Diary measurement needs to be improved. Nielsen has to invest in appropriate Big Data partnerships and techniques to bring local measurement into the current century. The medium itself is all digital. Hybrid is a good start but the roll-out must stay the course. Development of cost efficient alternatives to diary measurement needs to continue.

Broadband-Only Homes. While TVB applauds Nielsen’s initiative to address consumers who receive television in all its forms, we ask that you take great care in developing your approach to include Broadband-only homes in the local television samples. To date, there is little rigor in the process of bringing BB-only homes into the TV population, and given the dramatically different behavior profile of these homes, we respectfully request that all due diligence be taken. Without it, we may end up dramatically misrepresenting consumption today.

The goal should be to have the best representation of TV viewing data and consumer behavior that’s available for those advertisers who operate in local markets, and the business partners who serve them.

Clearly, our shared agenda is to have the most accurate measurement possible for the most important medium for American advertisers and consumers. We’re looking forward to our partnership with the new leader of Nielsen. Together, we will continue to make this latest Golden Age of Television really shine.

Steve Lanzano is President of TVB.

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