HNN, NIELSEN PART WAYS
Raycom Media will use other research to track KGMB and KHNL audiences >>
The ongoing November “sweeps,” or Nielsen rating period that ends Nov. 25, will be the last in which Hawaii News Now participates.
Alabama-based Raycom Media — parent company of Hawaii News Now’s KGMB-TV and KHNL-TV — announced similar moves in 23 markets, said Rick Blangiardi, general manager of KGMB and KHNL. The move to sever ties with Nielsen at year’s end also will affect Hawaii News Now station KFVE-TV, licensed to Virginia-based HITV License Subsidiary Inc. KGMB and KHNL are Hawaii’s CBS and NBC affiliates, respec- tively, while KFVE is independent.
“We’re going to be much more research-driven going forward,” Blangiardi said, turning to research “to provide for our advertisers the kind of quality information they are looking for” that the current audience measurement model doesn’t offer.
Nielsen for generations had been considered the bible of audience measurement among television networks, independently owned stations and companies that advertise on television.
Hawaii audience measurement data is gathered by Nielsen using printed booklets, known as diaries, which are sent to households that agree to write down their viewing habits over rating periods in February, May and November. Nielsen uses electronic means to measure ratings in many large mainland markets.
For a recent survey, 11,400 diaries were mailed to households, but only 914 diaries were filled out and returned, according to the resulting ratings report.
Raycom said, “The antiquated diary data is so unstable that it bears questionable resemblance to the effectiveness of an advertising schedule, or its efficiency.”
Rather than use Nielsen data, Raycom and Hawaii News Now will increase the scope and frequency of customized research it receives from Pennsylvania-based Marshall Marketing & Communications Inc.
The stations have invited ad agencies and others to presentations this week to explain their new strategy.
Competitor KHON-TV, Hawaii’s Fox and CW affiliate, has no immediate plans to discontinue use of the Nielsens.
“Nielsen is the currency which local advertisers use to determine television audiences in Honolulu … (and) is the only reliable source we have right now that takes a large enough, unbiased sample size,” said Kristina Lockwood, KHON president and general manager.
It is possible KHON will turn to another method of audience measurement in the future. “We hope to consider other measurement options which utilize set-top box data, and more real-time data, so we can better understand our audience trends and respond to the needs of our viewers.”
KITV President and General Manager Joe McNamara could not be reached. KITV is the ABC-TV affiliate.
“The core Nielsen system was developed when people had just three or four stations to choose from, and now they have hundreds,” noted Dennis Christianson, CEO of Anthology Marketing Group, which creates and places advertising for companies and entities across all media platforms in Hawaii and beyond.
“The technology of (Nielsen’s) research hasn’t kept pace with the technology of media consumption,” Christianson said.
These days, network, local and cable programming can be watched on multiple platforms, whether on TV screens, computer monitors, tablets or smartphones, to name the obvious ones.
“By all counts, clearly there have got to be some better ways of doing this, but we’re not wise enough to tell you what that is,” Christianson said. “We look forward to Nielsen, and Raycom and everyone else to tell us what the next step is, and we’ll support whichever is accurate … in order to create effective marketing plans for our clients.”
There was a time when, if you heard about breaking news, you would try to find out more from a trusted colleague or relative, “or maybe go to a small transistor radio,” to try and learn more, Blangiardi said. “You had to go and seek that news and information out and, in some cases, even wait for it” to be aired on television that night or published in the paper the next day, he said.
“Today there is a mindset that ‘if it is newsworthy, it will come to me.’ That is a major shift in behavior, on a global basis,” Blangiardi observed, and that change in consumer behavior needs to be measured and quantified a different way.