CRE Newsletter1st quarter 2012

Letter from the Chair of the Council for Research Exellence

Dear Nielsen Client:

We're pleased to share this second edition of the Council for Research Excellence (CRE) quarterly newsletter. We issued the inaugural edition in September.

About seven years ago I participated in the Senate Commerce Committee hearing related to Nielsen LPM service and witnessed then-Nielsen CEO (and current Nielsen vice chair) Susan Whiting's commitment that Nielsen would create and fund an independent council of customer executives dedicated to research excellence. I was very excited to hear that commitment -- but could not have envisioned the results.

Read More »



Save the Date: CRE to Launch Quarterly Introductory Webinars

Expand Collapse

The CRE's Communications Committee will host quarterly "Meet the CRE" webinars, to give the research community a better understanding of the work the Council is undertaking, and to enable participants to get to know some of the CRE's members. During these webinars, speakers will provide an overview of the CRE, and highlight a specific committee.

The first "Meet the CRE" webinar will showcase the Sample Quality (SQ) Committee (formerly the Non-Response Bias Committee), which is embarking on some interesting research. Among the speakers will be SQ Committee Chair Ceril Shagrin, who is also the recently elected Chair of the CRE.

The date for this inaugural webinar is Monday, February 13, at 3 p.m. Eastern. Dial-in information will be sent to interested parties who sign up for the CRE's webinar alerts on the CRE homepage.

New Assignments and New Members at CRE

Expand Collapse

Ceril Shagrin, Executive Vice President, Audience Measurement Innovation and Analytics at Univision Communications, Inc., was elected Chair of the CRE. She succeeds Mike Hess, who last year left his position as EVP Research, Marketing Science, and Consumer Insights at Carat to join The Nielsen Company as EVP, Data Fusion and Integration. A longtime CRE member, Ceril adds the overall chair duties to her existing role as chair of the CRE's Sample Quality Committee.

Nancy Gallagher, Senior Vice President of News, Sports and Affiliate Research at NBC Universal, has added to her role at the CRE. In addition to chairing the Universe Estimates Committee, she also now chairs the Insights to Practice Committee, which works with The Nielsen Company to inform its research practices, products and services with the practical learnings from the CRE's various studies. In her role as chair of the Universe Estimates Committee, Nancy oversaw the wide-ranging 2010 effort to assess the accuracy and completeness of universe estimates, and their relationship to audience measurement, derived from the Nielsen local-market sample in Dallas and Fort Worth.

Emily Vanides, Vice President, Connections Research & Analytics for MediaVest, has assumed the role of chair of the CRE's Communications Committee, from which she'll be overseeing the CRE's public communications with the news media, Nielsen clients and other important constituents. You'll be able to learn more about Emily and her CRE involvement in our inaugural "Conversation with CRE Members" feature in this newsletter.

Sharon Warden, Vice President of Research & Planning for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), has joined the CRE; she chairs the Education Committee, which is responsible for the CRE's recently launched internship program. Sharon has more than 20 years of media and marketing research experience dealing with television, radio, print, internet and association issues. At NAB, Sharon's primary responsibility is advocacy research supporting communications, government relations, legal and NAB members. She is responsible for NAB's Committees on Local Television Audience Measurement (COLTAM) and Radio (COLRAM). In addition, she supports membership and NAB Show research.

Judy Vogel, Director of Insights and Analysis at Media Storm, has joined the CRE. Judy is responsible for directing all of Media Storm's research efforts, including research support for Media Storm's buying units and developing measurement solutions to assess the success of client marketing efforts. Prior to joining Media Storm, Judy was Director of Research at PHD and, before that, she was Director of Media Research and Consumer Insights at OMD. She also has served as Director of Media Research at both BBDO and Ketchum Advertising. Among other industry affiliations, Judy has served as chair of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) Media Research Committee and of the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Print Council, and has served on the boards of the Media Rating Council (MRC) and the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Nancy Gallagher, Kate Sirkin and Beth Uyenco were voted on to the Steering Committee of the CRE. Kate is Global Research Director of Starcom MediaVest; Beth is Global Research Director for Microsoft Advertising.

We're pleased to note that Ira Sussman, who served on the CRE while the senior research executive at the Cable Television Ad Bureau (CAB), makes a return of sorts to the CRE. Now Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Client Services in Nielsen's national TV business, Ira will serve as Nielsen's primary liaison to the CRE.

The CRE encourages audience research executives to apply for membership – to share views and ideas with fellow research leaders and to become part of our leading-edge effort to advance the quality and practice of audience research. Please drop us a note at

CRE's Sample Quality Committee to Expand on its Research of Nielsen-Sample Cooperators and Non-Cooperators

Expand Collapse

In 2012 the CRE's Sample Quality Committee, chaired by Ceril Shagrin, will seek to expand on the ambitious work publicly reported in 2010 – the most comprehensive study of its kind to determine the impact of non-response on ratings. Findings of that study, "Measuring the Unmeasured Viewer," were first presented to the CRE in 2009, and in 2010 were presented at a meeting of the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) at which time they were publicly announced. An important follow-up occurred in October 2010 when the CRE hosted a "mini-summit" in New York, in collaboration with the Media Rating Council (MRC). The event brought together some 200 researchers and other industry professionals to review and discuss the landmark effort.

Importantly, the committee's "Measuring the Unmeasured Viewer" study succeeded in helping the CRE to determine differentiating factors impacting cooperation and non-cooperation -- including demographics, equipment ownership, and channels viewed. It also provided insights to when weighting does and does not eliminate response differences.

Working with the CRE's recently formed Local Measurement Committee, as well as the Set Top Box and Universe Estimates (UE) Committees, the Sample Quality Committee will be conducting research in 2012 to gain insights into sample quality of address-based samples, possible ways to improve media-related estimates and ways set top box data may be used to improve local measurement.

CRE Digital Committee to issue findings from study of digital-audience measurement

Expand Collapse

The Digital Committee, chaired by Dan Murphy, Senior Vice President of Research and Analytics for Univision Interactive Media, has been tackling the important work of better understanding data that publishers might introduce to the ad measurement process -- in essence in support of Online Gross Rating Points (GRPs). As part of this effort Dan has reached out broadly to the digital publishing community, including CRE members and non-members. The committee has retained Ernst & Young to help determine industry practices in the collection and reporting of data, among other tasks, in this important undertaking. The committee achieved its sampling targets and the CRE anticipates releasing results in first-quarter 2012. Dan elaborated on the study and its objectives in a recent edition of Television Business Report's Manager's Business Report.

CRE's Universe Estimates Committee to delve further into phenomenon of non-TV households

Expand Collapse

The CRE's Universe Estimates Committee, chaired by Nancy Gallagher, Senior Vice President of News, Sports and Affiliate Research at NBC Universal, will continue to assess the accuracy and completeness of universe estimates and their relationship to audience measurement. The Committee's work going forward will expand upon its 2010 effort, for which members analyzed the validity of media-related universe estimates derived from the Nielsen local-market sample in Dallas and Fort Worth – a local people meter (LPM) market with a significant ethnic population, a mix of urban and rural counties and what turned out to be a higher-than-expected proportion of over-the-air TV households. The Dallas-Fort Worth study helped the CRE realize not only the importance of accurate data relating to the ownership and penetration of the rapidly expanding pool of video-consumption devices, but also the need to understand the "where, when and how" of all video consumption. Nancy discussed the study and its significance in a July 2011 webinar drawing some 200 listeners, as well as in a recent edition of Television Business Report's Manager's Business Report. For its 2012 effort, the committee will return to the Dallas-Fort Worth market and will also look at the Albuquerque and Paducah/Cape Girardeau/Harrisburg markets.

CRE's Media Consumption & Engagement Committee to advance toward next phase of "UX" study

Expand Collapse

The CRE's Media Consumption & Engagement (MC&E) Committee, which in June 2011 announced the findings of the initial phase of its user experience ("UX") study, will be working to capitalize on the learnings from its initial phase. This encompassed the research-and-review of 150 important studies instructive to understanding the media user experience. Among the conclusions of the initial phase of the study: Live TV still reigns; bigger sets and devices are not always better for the viewer experience; and video consumption on multiple screens is complementary, not cannibalistic. The 2012 phase of the UX project is expected to involve multiple research methods and a new taxonomy.

CRE's Set-Top Box Committee to evaluate opportunities for 2012 research

Expand Collapse

The Set-Top Box Committee, chaired by Pat Liguori, Senior Vice President of Research for the ABC Owned Television Stations, has been instrumental in advancing the dialogue and the availability of information about the application of set-top box (STB) data in audience measurement. The committee's 2009-2010 study involved 15 participating organizations broadly grouped into four categories: data "aggregators," companies that prepare STB data for end use by buyers and sellers; data "creators," companies that provide data-gathering software; data "owners," companies that deal directly with subscribers and that own or control the return path over which tuning data flows; and "third-party processors," companies that provide the means by which the end-user can access and use STB data, either alone or merged with other database information. The project and its findings helped clarify that the true promise of STB data could not be realized until there is complete coordination of resources and information within and among organizations. While collaboration among industry organizations has increased in 2011, the STB Committee will be evaluating what more can be done.

CRE's Social Media Committee prepares for 2012 study of rapidly evolving realm

Expand Collapse

CRE's recently formed Social Media Committee, chaired by Beth Rockwood, Senior Vice President, Market Resources at Discovery Communications, has added members and hosted several outside guest presenters as it gets underway for what promises to be a busy 2012. Included among the Committee's brief will be social media's role in the marketing and communications mix, the relationship between social media and video, the identifiable social-media audience segments, social media's impact on the viewing experience, how new social media audience metrics may relate to existing metrics, and the network-level effects of social media, among other areas. The Committee's first study is expected to be fielded in the first quarter.

CRE launches Local Measurement Committee

Expand Collapse

The CRE's recently launched Local Measurement Committee, chaired by Billy McDowell, Vice President of Research at Raycom Media, has been examining extensive Nielsen diary data to develop deeper insights to data variability as well as diary-keeping. Among the committee's 2012 objectives will be to explore alternatives for supplementing diary information, and evaluating how the data are best used in business transactions -- fundamental questions and concerns of the many Nielsen clients doing business in non-metered markets. The Committee expects to issue initial findings in the first quarter. Billy described his committee's objectives in a recent edition of Television Business Report's Manager's Business Report.

CRE Launches ROI Committee

Expand Collapse

The CRE's newest committee will develop research into an area that is top-of-mind throughout the media and advertising industries: ROI. Chaired by David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer for CBS Corporation and President of CBS Vision, the ROI Committee will explore work that has been done in this area and is looking to work with the ARF about possibilities for collaboration. We will report further on this committee's efforts in subsequent editions of this newsletter.

CRE Education Committee prepares for 2012 industry research internship program

Expand Collapse

The CRE's Education Committee, which in 2011 initiated what is believed to be the first industry-wide internship program solely dedicated to the training of the next generation of audience research professionals, is gearing up for its 2012 internship program under the guidance of new Committee chair Sharon Warden. The internship program is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of researchers to join the profession of audience research and to help them obtain proper training. Anyone interested in collaborating with CRE and having their company's research internship program listed on the CRE website is encouraged to e-mail Sharon at

Back to Top »

A Conversation with CRE Members

Expand Collapse

In this issue, the CRE introduces a series of discussions with CRE members – one each from the "sell-side" and "buy-side" – about their roles within CRE and how it helps in their everyday efforts.

This quarter we speak to Beth Rockwood, Senior Vice President, Market Resources at Discovery Communications, who chairs the CRE's recently formed Social Media Committee, and Emily Vanides, Vice President, Connections Research & Analytics for MediaVest, newly named chair of the CRE's Communications Committee.

When did you join the CRE?

Beth: I have been a member of the CRE for three years.

Emily: I joined in late 2010.

What attracted you to serve on the CRE?

Beth: At the time that I joined, the Video Consumer Mapping Study was being conducted. This research was innovative and the results had real-world impact. I wanted to be on the inside of the organization that was capable of developing and executing this kind of study.

Emily: I wanted to be a part of moving audience research forward, and to help implement change in media measurement. The Council gives all of us in the industry an extraordinary opportunity to conduct in-depth, innovative research (that is funded by Nielsen), that we wouldn't be able to do otherwise.

What attracted you to your particular CRE committee?

Beth: Social media is fascinating. The use of social media represents one of the biggest changes in consumer behavior in the past decade. Our committee has decided to focus on the intersection of television viewing and social media usage. We plan to employ innovative methods to gain new consumer insights. We have a lot to learn about this new space and that learning can have a real impact on television programming and marketing.

Emily: I initially joined as a member of the Media Consumption & Engagement (MCE) Committee. I too was impressed with the Committee's Video Consumer Mapping study – the depth of the study, the methodology used, and the findings that addressed some timely questions.

What have you found most rewarding from your CRE participation?

Beth: Working with groups of smart and passionate people who share common goals is very rewarding. The CRE was developed to ask the hard questions, and to find new and better ways of providing answers, so that measurement is of the highest quality. The collaboration and creativity makes all of us smarter and better researchers. The CRE is a wonderful group of individuals, so working on CRE projects is time well spent.

Emily: Definitely the people - interacting with them, hearing their points of view, learning from them, and working with them. It's been an extremely rewarding experience.

How would you say your own company has been able to benefit from the work to-date of the CRE?

Beth: Discovery, like other media companies, benefits from better quality research -- and from being a part of the conversation. The ideas and associations that are developed within the CRE help us all to do better work in our day jobs.

Emily: The Universe Estimates (UE) Committee's finding of non-TV household growth shed light on something important that Nielsen has since corroborated. We need to expand on this and further measure the alternative ways people are accessing TV programming.

Of the work from your committee, or from others, what have you found to be the most significant revelation so far in terms of its impact on the future of audience research?

Beth: I find the most significant learning that I have taken from the CRE is that the quality of television research is extremely high. We have examined sample quality, universe estimates, and behavior patterns (through the Video Consumer Mapping study) and found that our current system is strong. This is very reassuring since so much business is conducted on the Nielsen currency. Looking at the challenges that we face moving into an increasingly fragmented video landscape, we need groups like the CRE to ensure that video measurement standards remain at the same high level.

Emily: I'll go back to the Universe Estimates Committee's finding of an increase in non-TV households. I think this may be a trend that we need to keep our eye on; it can have significant implications across the industry. I'm also very excited about the work that the Digital and Social Media Committees are undertaking, as there is still so much to learn and explore in these areas.

How has your interaction with your peers in audience research changed or evolved since you joined CRE?

Beth: Since the CRE requires so much group work, I have come to rely on my peers for input and advice. It is a great network of professionals.

Emily: Certainly my interaction has increased in terms of quantity. It's been great to hear opinions and concerns from different sides of the industry..

Given the rapid growth and change in the ways media are consumed, audience research can be demanding. How do you manage all that you handle in your job?

Beth: It is very difficult, but fortunately I have an excellent team who can fill in for me when I am working with the CRE. The time challenge is tough for the committee chairs, even with the support that the CRE provides. Running a committee is still a lot of work!

Emily: Being a part of the CRE helps to stay on top of the changes in media – through the access to Nielsen, and also through hearing what others express as priorities and concerns, both on buy side and sell side.

Where do you see room for improvement in the approach to audience research?

Beth: As consumers adopt new devices and content migrates across those platforms, cross platform measurement presents an enormous challenge. This is acknowledged in the industry, and is a priority for content providers, agencies and advertisers. A number of initiatives are underway, but we need to make more progress more quickly!

Emily: There is much room for improvement! A significant amount of research is still recall-based. Ideally, we need to move toward single-source measurement.

How do you see the CRE serving the needs of the Nielsen client community?

Beth: I believe that the CRE can provide the rigorous questioning that will assure the Nielsen client community that the highest standards are being met by Nielsen. The CRE can also help to share new methods and learning with the community.

Emily: CRE is composed of Nielsen clients – our needs should be the same. The work the CRE does should directly represent clients' concerns and priorities. If it doesn't, this is something the Council, the Communications Committee, and I as the new chair of this Committee, will need to address.


Back to Top »

We Want to Hear From You

The CRE seeks to expand the discussion to any and all topics of interest to you. We invite you to submit your suggestions to

Similarly, please e-mail us if you'd like to get involved with a CRE research committee

Anything else you’d like us to know? Please send us an e-mail:

Note to Readers

We hope you enjoyed this edition of the CRE Quarterly Newsletter. If you would like to receive future editions and have not already subscribed, we encourage you to do so – and we invite you to encourage your colleagues to do so -- at the CRE homepage. This will be the last edition of the CRE Quarterly Newsletter sent to non-subscribers.

Thank you for your interest.

About the Council for Research Excellence

The Council for Research Excellence (CRE) is an independent research group created (in 2005) and funded by The Nielsen Company. CRE is dedicated to advancing the knowledge and practice of audience measurement methodology and comprises senior-level industry researchers representing advertisers, agencies, broadcast networks, cable, syndicators, local stations, and industry associations.

CRE members represent advertising agencies and media-buying firms including Bromley Communications, Carat, Deutsch, GroupM, Horizon Media, Magna, Starcom MediaVest and TargetCast tcm; media companies including CBS, Comcast, Cox, Discovery, Disney, Hearst Television, NBC Universal, News Corporation, Raycom Media, Scripps Networks, Time Warner, Univision and Viacom; advertisers including Kimberly-Clark, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Unilever; industry organizations including the Media Rating Council, the Syndicated Network Television Association; and The Nielsen Company; and the investment bank Nomura Securities.

For more information about the Council for Research Excellence, please visit: