Publishers refuse to pay Nielsen until metrics issues resolved ahead of launch of DCR Monthly next week

A number of small to medium-sized publishers have requested Nielsen completely discontinues its Digital Ratings Monthly (DRM) solution and remove their data from the platform, Mumbrella understands.

At the same time, Mumbrella also understands a number of publishers are not paying Nielsen, as they wait to resolve their ongoing issues.

The measurement issue rages on for digital publishers

According to industry sources, discussions have taken place over the past few weeks between Nielsen and publishers, in an attempt to reconcile disputes over inaccuracies and methodology in Nielsen’s two available measurement solutions, DRM and Digital Content Ratings (DCR).

The conversations, which are yet to be resolved, come as Nielsen prepares to launch Digital Content Ratings (DCR) Monthly next week.

But despite apparently promising publishers it would discontinue the DRM metric following this move, Mumbrella understands Nielsen will instead publish the metric under the newly rebranded Nielsen Digital Panel, come June.

The press will no longer receive DRM numbers – instead  they will be offered the DCR Monthly – but the metric will continue to exist for brands and agencies.

In a note to clients, Monique Perry, managing director of media at Nielsen, said DCR Monthly would be the new ranking data, with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) endorsing the solution as the third-party independent measurement for digital audiences.

“The Nielsen Digital Panel will remain a vital source of data for non-tagged entities reporting in Digital Content Ratings. The Nielsen Digital Panel will also be critical in providing respondent-level data for the reporting of duplication across entities, state-based, fusion capability, custom roll ups, and category-level audiences,” Perry wrote.

“Within 12 months, the full integration of Nielsen Digital Panel (formerly Digital Ratings Monthly) reporting functionality into Digital Content Ratings will be complete.”

In a statement to Mumbrella, Perry acknowledged the frustration felt by publishers: “We continue to work closely with our clients and the industry to move digital measurement forward in a constantly moving and complex media landscape. We acknowledge there is frustration and we’re focused and constantly innovating to provide solutions that meet our clients needs in this dynamic environment.

“To that end, next week Nielsen will switch on Digital Content Ratings Monthly which directly addresses the industry need for better coverage. Next week’s release will help the industry see growth in audiences who are consuming a publishers content off-platform and on mobile devices.”

The IAB confirmed its endorsement of DCR Monthly, promising it will cover both on and off-platform audiences, secure pages, mobile audiences under 18 and video consumed on all desktop, mobile and tablet devices.

“The panel data, which currently forms the basis of Nielsen Digital Ratings Monthly, will no longer be the endorsed currency for rankings and will be replaced with Nielsen Digital Content Ratings as the currency data in the press. The panel data will be used for specific integrations with other media data sets and for deeper audience duplication analysis,” an IAB spokesperson explained to Mumbrella.

“The IAB Measurement Council, which has representatives of 18 publishers and agencies as well as involvement from the MFA, has been involved in reviewing the Nielsen Digital Content Ratings methodology and roll out.”

Mumbrella understands Nielsen’s EMMA readership metric is one of those media data sets that will continue to use DRM until a modified compatible version of DCR is available at the beginning of 2019.

The latest concerns come amid publisher scrutiny around numerous inaccuracies within both the DRM and DCR metrics.

Some of the many issues Nielsen has been forced to address include its inability to measure Google AMP and https despite promising it could, the apparent astronomical growth of some publishers following the introduction of Facebook video to its metrics and disparity in audience numbers between its two measurement solutions.

Fairfax Media, one of Nielsen’s highest-paying customers, withdrew from DCR back in March, however its audience numbers are still recorded in the DRM solution, as it is partially based on panel data.

The discussions over the past few months have escalated to the point where Nielsen has, in some cases, offered discount client prices to a number of publishers, in order to retain them.

Measurement will be one of the many issues tackled at Mumbrella’s Publish conference this year. For more information about the panel, which will take place on September 20, click here.


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