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Nielsen Expands Sample Sizes in Top Markets

neilsenNielsen is rolling out an expansion in local market sample sizes designed to “increase the stability of the ratings and add utility for customers by improving representation for hard-to-reach demographics,” the company announced today.

Dallas, Washington, D.C., Houston, Miami, and Denver will see an increase of 200 homes this year. Charlotte, St. Louis, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, and Phoenix will see an increase of 200 homes in 2015, and the top two DMAs — New York and Los Angeles — will add 300 homes next year.

According to Nielsen, the sample will expand by 200 homes in the 31 set meter markets over the next two years, representing a nearly 50% increase in sample size across the set meter markets.

“Nielsen is committed to continuous improvement of quality local television measurement now and into the future. With this supplemental expansion, our local media clients will see increased stability through expanded metered samples and electronic measurement to diary markets that never had metered samples,” EVP Managing Director Local Media Matt O’Grady said in a statement.

Last week, Boston ABC affiliate WCVB blamed irregularities in Nielsen samples for a recent drop in ratings.

More from Nielsen after the jump.

NEW YORK – May 28, 2014 – Nielsen announced today a significant and broad expansion to its ongoing sample improvement plan that will expedite increases in existing local television markets. The sample expansion will increase the stability of the ratings and add utility for customers by improving representation for hard-to-reach demographics. Nielsen will leverage industry accepted methods and metering technologies that are already in use today, allowing the company to move quickly to market and permitting clients to see an immediate impact to stability. A rapidly changing consumer landscape requires a comprehensive approach that utilizes specialized methods in different markets. With the support of its clients, Nielsen will continue to tailor its approach in response to market and client needs.

Starting this year, Nielsen will increase the sample size in 15 Local People Meter markets. Five previously announced markets – Dallas, Washington, D.C., Houston, Miami, and Denver – will see an increase of 200 homes this year. The two largest markets, New York and Los Angeles, will have their sample sizes increased by 300 homes next year. In addition, the following eight markets will each have their sample size increased by 200 homes in 2015: Charlotte, St. Louis, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, and Phoenix. These sample increases represent on average a +30% increase in sample size.

In the 31 set meter markets, Nielsen will expand the sample by 200 homes in each market over the next two years. The addition of these 6,200 homes represents an almost 50% increase in sample size across the set meter market footprint.

In its metered markets, Nielsen will rely on industry-accepted technology that will have an immediate and positive impact for its clients. In its smaller markets, the company is focused on improving both quantitative and qualitative offerings that meet client needs. Earlier this year, Nielsen announced plans to install code readers in select diary markets and bring year-round, electronic measurement to those diary clients. Those plans are proceeding as announced and are an important component of its overall sample expansion strategy for local television.

“Nielsen is committed to continuous improvement of quality local television measurement now and into the future. With this supplemental expansion, our local media clients will see increased stability through expanded metered samples and electronic measurement to diary markets that never had metered samples,” said Matt O’Grady, EVP Managing Director Local Media, Nielsen.

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