Nielsen: Planning DTV Transition-Related Quality Control Testing On TV Ratings

Company will begin testing Friday if there's no official delay
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Posted at 3:50 p.m. ET

Nielsen told clients this week that it plans to start doing some DTV transition-related quality control testing of its TV ratings this week, which will continue through March 29, 2009, still presuming a Feb. 17 cut-off date for analog, which at the moment is still anything but presumable.

According to a client communication earlier this week, Nielsen pushed the start of the test back three days to try and get an answer first on whether the DTV transition date was moving.

The communication was dated Jan. 26, when most people, including the folks at Nielsen, were presuming the date was moving to June 12.

"However, if by Friday there is still no official word that the transition has been delayed, Nielsen’s testing will begin," said the company in a memo earlier this week. "We believe this is the right balance between starting DTV transition testing early and minimizing disruption to clients." 

There is still no official word. The House Wednesday voted down a Senate bill that would have changed the date to June 12, but Senate Democrats are attempting to fast-track a second bill that, if it is approved there, might yet make it through the House.

During testing of the National People Meter, Local People Meter and local set-top meter samples, overnight ratings will be delayed by a couple of hours.

Nielsen says that in the "unlikely event" that the National People Meter fails "existing quality testing and/or DTV Transition Testing," data will not be released until two or three days later, with appropriate highlight of the affected data, which will be broken out and not included in the weekly, monthly or season-to-date averages.