General discussion

Is it legal for Nielsen TV Ratings to pay based on RACE?

The Nielsen Company (also known as the Nielsen TV Ratings) is an industry leader in measuring how many people watch traditional TV. They have thousands of Nielsen TV Families who have boxes installed which monitor what they watch. They measure demographic data such as race of household, age of household and number of household members. However, the way that they recruit homes can be argued as racist.

For their local people meter markets such as Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Atlanta, and many others, the race or ethnicity of the “primary person who rents or owns” determines the household compensation over 2 years. If the household is Black or African American, they start out with a $150 check and a check every 6 months to total up to $525.00 over 2 years for alternate homes. If the home is Asian, the home would qualify for up to $900.00. However, if the home is Native American or Samoan, the home would only qualify for up to $425.00 over 2 years on their gift chart.

While, I am only giving examples with the alternate homes, the basic homes have slightly more compensation, but it also depends on race as well. The same criteria applies. Just basing it on race and the gift chart alone, for basics, it can be the difference between $800.00 for Black/African American homes over 2 years compared to $950.00 for Asian homes to just $700.00 for Native American or Samoan homes.

The difference between alternates and basics is the basic is the first home Nielsen selected for that recruitment cycle. If the first home does not sign up, the alternate is a home nearby in the area that signs up. Usually alternates start from the house to the left of the basic home, and then it goes down a list. The alternate homes are not really random in a purely random sense as it is predictable where alternate 1 is. Then alternate 2 is usually the home to the left of alternate 1 and so forth.

For both alternates and basics, the ethnicity with the highest compensation are Hispanic homes that speak more Spanish than English at home. These homes qualify for up to $2000.00+. However, if the home is Hispanic and speaks more English than Spanish at home, or only English at home, their pay drops to only $605.00 over 2 years on the gift chart for basics, and only $395.00 over 2 years for alternates. The next race-based tier starts at $700.00 over 2 years for basics, and $425 over 2 years for alternates, but one criteria is the home has to be non-Hispanic.

The frequency of checks is another thing Nielsen uses to differentiate by race. Hispanic Homes that speak more Spanish than English at home, and Asian homes get paid a monthly amount while Black/African American, Hispanic homes that speak mostly English or only English at home, Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Samoan homes get paid a check every 6 months. This disparity of pay is concerning.

If you are approached by a Nielsen TV Ratings salesman or saleswoman, and if you get to see your gift chart, you will notice codes at the top right corner of the page. Here is the breakdown for alternate gift charts grouped from lowest to highest: 100A, 50A 150A, 150AM, 250AM and 350AM. For basics they run: 150B, 100B, 200B, 200BM, 300BM and 400BM. The initial number before the A or the B means their initial check is that much. If a gift chart ends in A or B, their checks come initially and every 6 months. However, if a gift chart ends in BM or AM, their gift charts come monthly after the initial check.

The reason why 100A is lower than 50A for the gift chart is because the checks at 6 month intervals are lower, and if you add everything up, it equals a lower amount over 2 years. This would also apply for 150B and 100B with 100B being a higher compensation than 150B for the gift charts. The 100A and 150B is for Hispanic homes that speak more English than Spanish at home, or only English at home. These homes are valued the least in the Nielsen TV Ratings local people meter gift chart compensation system. While just analyzing the gift charts, all races and ethnicites will get paid more than Hispanic homes that are classified as "English Dominant." English Dominant homes are Hispanic homes that speaks more English than Spanish at home, or only English at home.

The company also uses a thing called a "DCI," and it stands for "discretionary cash incentive." DCI was at one time given in cash, but is now given on a prepaid Visa Gift Card. DCI is also race-based. For example, if a Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or Samoan home with 2 adults and no children (aged 35 years of age or older) sign up, they would not qualify for any DCI. Other races and ethnicities qualify for DCI in the sum of $50 per person, or $100 per person as a one time sign-up incentive given during install to adult(s) 18 or over. I have heard stories of homes get up to $700 in DCI just for signing up because of the home's race. These are extra incentives on top of the gift charts and are optional incentives that "Membership Representatives" may offer to get a home to sign up.

Not only does Nielsen practice racial discrimination by paying Nielsen Families by race, they also practice age discrimination by discouraging 55+ or senior citizen families from being recruited in several markets. If a home is 55+, they could be put on a many month "demo hold" meaning they can not be installed right away due to their age as homes of their demographic are not needed.

Alternate homes also have a thing called "TAR.” A home has to match a TAR criteria to be eligible to sign up. Some weeks, I have seen "NON-ASIAN" or "NON-BLACK" or "NON-HISPANIC" pop up on TAR. This means to match that TAR, the home has to be NOT that race. If it shows up as "NON-ASIAN," then it means find a home to sign up that is not Asian.

Due to the TAR criteria for eligible homes, I have even heard that there was a member of the Seattle market who would falsify her interview data just to get a home into the system as the home would be TAR ineligible otherwise. Because she was falsifying demographic data, that meant the demographic data sent to the Nielsen server was purposely inaccurate.

Race-based compensation may be a little complicated at first. However, Nielsen Membership Representatives who need help on determining household compensation can use a Nielsen created "incentive tool" on their iPhone while recruiting. After entering in some information like household's race and age, it will come back with which gift chart to use, and how much DCI (if any) can be offered. One might wonder, how many other companies (besides Nielsen) have a race-based compensation calculator?

Bottom line, Nielsen has been operating for a long time, and one would hope that in today’s society, the Nielsen Company will stop paying Nielsen Families on the basis of race. Discriminatory practices based on race and/or age is plain WRONG!

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So I take it you are against using or collecting DEMOGRAPHIC information?

Seems very Don Quixote to me.

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PS. Had to read this a few times.

Frankly I thought Nielsen Ratings was "Dead man walking." That is, so few I know watch OTA or cable today and cable TV systems already collect user data they they don't need Nielsen.

1. was in 2005.
2. notes targeting the viewers.
3. In spite of all that Nielsen is dead meat. Cable companies get user data, Google gets YouTube data, Netflix gets their data.

Nielsen is dead.

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Since you mentioned streaming homes...

Nielsen TV Ratings markets have a contractual minimum of homes they promise the TV stations. TV stations are Nielsen’s clients, and Nielsen needs to make their clients happy.

A “BBO” home stands for broadband only. Unfortunately, BBO homes do not count toward the number of homes promised to the clients in the local people meter market. Only traditional (cable, satellite or antenna) homes count. One can assume if a home has traditional TV, then that increases the chances of clients getting better ratings than compared to a streaming only home that only watches Netflix and does not have the local channels.

If a market manager has to have 800 homes in the sample, and there are homes that leave the sample every month, and their home count is below 800, then the market is in trouble. If alternate homes enter the sample and are BBO, then that does not add to the local market’s home count. This is why you sometimes hear of management discourage Membership Representatives from signing up any more BBO homes.

From management telling Membership Representative explicitly not to sign up BBO homes, to putting a 3 month demo hold on BBO installations, these practices are meant to suppress adding new BBO homes to the sample.

If a streaming only home is signed, and Nielsen management puts a 3 month hold on the home from being installed, there is a bigger chance the home changes its mind during the long wait. However, if the home that was signed decided to get cable or satellite during their long hold, they would be allowed to be installed sooner as they would actually add to the sample.

For Nielsen Membership Representatives who do not want homes backing out, and the pressure from management to not sign up BBO alternates, often times homes that are BBO and want to sign up, don’t have the opportunity to sign up as the recruiter will just find a cable or satellite home to sign up instead.

And what about the payroll aspect of this? If management puts in policies that contribute to back-outs, and Membership Representatives bonus on the number of homes signed, wouldn't this cut into Membership Representatives' bonuses and pay? Think about all the work done to recruit these homes!

One must wonder if the Nielsen Company has practices that discourage signing up BBO homes, then how accurate are Nielsen’s estimates for the TV Ratings? Are the estimates of how many homes are out there that only stream compared to those that have traditional TV service even accurate? Also, why is it that BBO homes are not counted in the local sample? Wouldn't counting them in the local sample be more accurate?

Post was last edited on October 6, 2019 10:31 PM PDT

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When it comes to statistics.

You have to ask the statistician why they made their choices. I've done statistics for decades and anyone can throw shade on the decisions. But at the end of the day you have a report to get out so you reveal your methods, results but not always why you used those methods.

In other words, ask the ones that do this work. Or you may never know.

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When does statistics cross the line?

When you worked in stats, did you look up survey people on social media? I once met a lady who signed up for the Nielsen TV Ratings. She posted on Twitter about being recruited for Nielsen. Nielsen searched for her online, and found she posted on Twitter about being approached by Nielsen. Nielsen management decided not to install her home even though she had deleted her tweet without being asked. Nielsen management did not want her to find out that they specifically looked at her social media and saw the tweet and that was the reason why she would not be installed even though later it was deleted by her. So if you sign up for Nielsen TV Ratings, are you ready for Nielsen to look you up on social media? It appears there may be a team of Nielsen employees that look up Nielsen signups' social media information. Why didn't Nielsen management want her to know the real reason why they didn't want her installed?

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You have missed many points.

You are asking your questions but putting it to other than those that have the answers.

Here we can make conjecture and nothing more. As to the legal angles you take those to your lawyer.

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Pay by Race

I am against a company paying by race. What if other companies set a dollar amount by race? For example, if a company decides to pay Hispanic people that speak mostly English or only English at home the least, then pay Black/African American people a different amount, pay Asian homes more than Black/African American people, pay Native Americans the second least amount etc. No matter the work being the same, the race determines pay?

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do you have a valid source?

without a valid source it is hard to believe what you claim.

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Post was last edited on October 6, 2019 9:02 PM PDT

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Would you sign up for the Nielsen TV Ratings?

Would anyone sign up for the Nielsen TV Ratings if a Nielsen salesperson went to your door, and knocked or rang your bell?

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How to Stop Nielsen Ratings from Ringing Your Doorbell again

If your home is the first home selected for the recruitment cycle (basic), you will be approached by a membership representative and they will come knocking or ringing.

Even if you do not respond to their letter, they will be at your door. No matter, if you live in a gated community, they may follow the next car in, or try to convince the guard to let them in.

What if the gatekeeper is heavily trained and won’t let anyone in? Have you heard of Lexus Nexus? If the membership representative can’t access your community or building, the manager may look up your address, and hopefully find your phone number through a paid service.

If you do not want to be a Nielsen home for 2 years, and tell them you are not interested, that might not stop them. The manager may send the membership representative back, or send a different membership representative to come make an attempt.

God forbid, what if one of your household members is terminally ill, you would think the Nielsen TV ratings people would leave your household alone and stop coming back? Unfortunately, they will still come back about every 6 months.

What if you tell them you are moving soon? Will that stop them from coming back? No, they will come back to check if you moved. If a new household moved in by their next visit, they will try to sign up the new household who moved into your house. So if you are not moving, telling them you are moving wouldn’t work. Even if they decide to move on and sign an alternate, they will come back about every 6 months to check if a new household moved in, or if you will sign up.

Even after multiple refusals, and you think you are now rid of Nielsen, in about 6 month’s time, don’t be surprised if a Nielsen salesperson comes knocking again. They will keep rechecking your home about every 6 months, until your home is no longer selected. Your home (if you were the basic selected), will be selected for 2 years!

What if you tell them that you have no TVs? Well, they put you as down as “zero TV” and come checking about every 6 months to ask if you have a TV now.

How do you get them to stop coming? If your home is occupationally disqualified, then they will just pick a new home as the basic.

1) A home can be occupationally disqualified if one of the household members work for a TV station in a role that is dependent on the TV ratings (eg. producer, director, camera person, etc.).

2) Any household member that uses Nielsen data for their job is occupationally disqualified.

So, I guess if you get a job in the TV industry, or buy their data, they will stop coming. You will just need to tell them that, and they will take your word for it. Of course, you shouldn’t lie to the nice Nielsen people, but if you happen to work in media or buy their data, you are safe from being pestered if you just let them know your job title and company you work for.

But what about the regular people who do not work in the TV industry or buy Nielsen data? You can call the 800 number on one of the door hanger(s) they leave you, and ask to speak to a manager. Politely, tell the manager to put your home on the “DO NOT CONTACT” list. Ask for the manager’s name, and tell the person you are writing it down and will keep a record of it in case Nielsen disturbs your household again. Then keep your fingers crossed, and hopefully the Nielsen TV Ratings won’t come back again.

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A prolific writer and complainer you are...

...and by your chosen name here, it could seem to mean that you may be a victim of your own vices. My suggestion is, if you're a TV addict, come up with a treatment plan to exorcise this devil from within. Instead of parking in front of your TV, go to some parking lot of a nature preserve where you can get some fresh air and exercise your body and brain. Get out and enjoy nature's beauty in real time rather than what you can find on the TV. Go to some place where you can watch young and innocent children having fun exploring new and exciting adventures. The beaches are a great place to see this while listening to the sound of the ocean rather than the raucous commercials which offer hyperactive salespeople screaming at you to lower your car payments or reduce your heating bills.

The TV is no place to spend a lot of time. If you're in front of it more than an hour or two a day, IMO, that's too much. If need be, go "cold turkey" for a week or two and see if you can tolerate the anguish. And don't substitute some handheld during this time. Those, too, are poisonous to the brain. Good luck.

Post was last edited on October 7, 2019 11:00 AM PDT

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Nielsen SWAT team manager called me a Chinese racial slur.

The Nielsen SWAT team manager called me a Chinese racial slur. Yet that person still works at Nielsen.

The guy also tweeted some racist things. There are stories of companies firing employees for racist tweets alone. Remember the woman who tweeted something racist while on a plane, and got fired? Or Rosanne who got kicked off the show after her racist tweet? There were a bunch of racist tweets the Nielsen SWAT Market Manager tweeted like against Jewish people, Black/African American people, women, etc.

Post was last edited on October 7, 2019 2:25 AM PDT

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Leave him alone, Steven.

At least he's anti-doorknocker.

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