Nielsen Retracts Its Nov 2016 Cable Estimate; Business Insider Disputes comScore's Audience Estimates

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Nielsen Nixes November Data

Nielsen retracted its November 2016 Cable Estimate following a series of reports detailing sizable viewership losses for ESPN of 621,000 cable subscribers – which would be the biggest drop in the network’s history. Nielsen is now undergoing a “thorough analysis to determine the veracity of this potential issue as well as any impact it may have on clients,” according to a statement from the company. It’s the second time Nielsen’s data has been publicly called into question. In October 2014, Nielsen acknowledged reporting inaccuracies for a seven-month timespan among its network broadcast ratings. More. Related: Read AdExchanger’s coverage on other measurement discrepancies clouding the cord-cutting picture.

Invisible Audiences

Speaking of metrics “issues,” Business Insider is the latest in a string of publishers disputing comScore’s audience estimates, Garett Sloane reports for Ad Age. BI claims an audience of 328 million, more than triple comScore’s estimate of 100 million people. BuzzFeed raised the same issue in a blog post in February that claimed comScore could only see one-fifth of its total audience because it doesn’t measure unique views across platforms. Walled gardens make it near impossible to tally unique cross-platform views. Business Insider admits its own numbers may be flawed for that reason. "There's just no way to say definitively, but at the same time we feel good about the number," said BI President Julie Hansen. "If anything, it's wildly conservative." More.

Brexit Headwinds

WPP reported third-quarter earnings on Monday with revenue up 23.4%. The holding company is starting to see a negative business impact from Brexit anxiety, according to CEO Sir Martin Sorrell. Like-for-like growth in the UK slowed to 2.1% from 3.5% last quarter. “Every time I talk to a client the first thing that comes out of their mouth is ‘Brexit’,” Sorrell said in an interview. “There is a lot of uncertainty and in these circumstances clients are unwilling to invest.” Other areas of focus were horizontality across the group, clients’ tepid attitude toward investing in digital and the ever-growing Facebook and Google duopoly. More at The Wall Street Journal.

Not Recommended

Is it the end for link recommendation companies? That may be overstating it, but some publishers are reconsidering their relationships with the likes of Taboola and Outbrain, The New York Times reports. According to stats from ChangeAdvertising.org, about a third of recommended sites are clickbait and so misaligned with the content they run against that they threaten to damage publisher reputations. The associations at times are almost parodical: An Outbrain link to a weight loss how-to beneath a Slate article on preventing eating disorders. On the other hand, these companies drive significant revenue for media sellers. Publishers want to create a great, relevant user experience – but they also want the coin. Read more.

An Alibaba Production

Alibaba is following in Amazon’s footsteps and building a media empire, Bloomberg reports. The Chinese ecommerce giant will consolidate its media assets, including video site Youku Tudou, web browser UCWeb, Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd. and its gaming, literature, music and digital media activities under one roof, called Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group. The reorg comes with a fund of more than 10 billion yuan ($1.48 billion) for new media projects. Like Amazon, Alibaba is looking to entertainment to open new revenue streams and keep shoppers coming back. More.

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