TV stations are already evaluating new TV data

Has the Mediapulse Board of Directors been able to credibly verify the data from the new TV panel? One thing is certain: The Media Science Control Commission was not called in. Nevertheless, the TV stations have received the data and are already working with it.

Exactly when the public will be informed about the new TV data is still open. But the TV stations can already evaluate the data. On February 12, Mediapulse's Board of Directors judged the data from the new TV panel to be "conclusive and plausible." At the same time, it announced that they would be presented to the public sometime next week. However, there was never any mention of a different rule applying to the TV stations: These received the data namely partly already on February 13 and partly on February 14, as Werbewoche learned from several organizers. Mediapulse, however, neither confirmed nor denied this information. Spokesman Nico Gurtner merely referred to next week's press conference, which has still not been scheduled.

Because the broadcasters now received data from around 45 days at once (backdated to January 1, 2013), extra night and weekend shifts are needed in many places to analyze and evaluate the volumes of data. That's because Kantar Media's nine panel changes everything that can change: All panel households are newly recruited, additional forms of use (such as TV on PCs and laptops) are included, data on time-shifted TV is reported for the first time, and broadcasters still have to familiarize themselves with the new evaluation tool.

But it is particularly strange that it was the Mediapulse board of directors that released the data. After all, Mediapulse and its board of directors have been under great pressure for about six weeks. Therefore, the theoretical possibility that the board gave in to industry pressure despite possibly inadequate data quality and perhaps decided to release the data too early cannot be dismissed out of hand. And that scratches at the credibility.

Instead, it would undoubtedly have been better to involve the Media Science Control Commission (MWK), which is made up of university professors. After all, the MWK already scrutinized the previous panel annually and wrote a precise report. But why didn't the Mediapulse board of directors let them do the checking? Gurtner could not provide an answer to this question either.

Instead, it was learned from the MWK that it is no longer in the service of Mediapulse at all. "MWK has neither been involved in the process of selecting the new system, nor has it evaluated the new system," writes MWK head Heinz Bonfadelli, professor at the Institute of Journalism and Media Research at the University of Zurich. And further: "As far as I am informed, Mediapulse will commission an external expert/auditor familiar with the Kantar system to review the new measurement system - or has already initiated this."

This is surprising, because no information about this has ever been given before - even industry insiders were surprised that the cooperation with MWK had ended. Moreover, it seems that this external person is neither designated nor that an independent control had taken place. If this had been the case, the Mediapulse board would certainly have given this external expert the placet on panel and data. But there was not a word about this in the Mediapulse communiqué.

Markus Knöpfli

Mediapulse clarifies: Control Commission remains

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