The TV Audience Measurement Crisis

What were the ratings for last night’s show? It depends who you ask.

Where did it air? Did it actually air or was it a stream? Was it both? Was it syndicated on local stations or was it a network broadcast? Was it on premium cable, SVOD, or something else? Did all the local network affiliates clear it or was it preempted in some markets? Were the preemptions in major markets or just some outliers?

Where is the single source of truth? Whose ratings can you trust? How do you set prices? What are you actually paying for? What metrics will you use to calculate ROAS?

Nielsen has been part of the answer to most of these questions for as long as anyone can remember. Yesterday, the Media Rating Council (MRC), a third-party industry watchdog, officially suspended its accreditation of Nielsen. Said differently, the MRC no longer trusts some of Nielsen’s numbers. Can you? Here’s Nielsen’s response.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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