CRE Newsletter

CRE Newsletter

January 2017

The Council for Research Excellence (CRE) is pleased to share with you its January newsletter (below) and a link its most recent news clip report.

Each month, the CRE Newsletter presents a brief review of the organization's activities, which are undertaken to advance the knowledge and practice of audience measurement methodology. CRE membership is composed of senior-level media and advertising industry researchers.

And each week, the CRE distributes a comprehensive list of links to news stories on topics including audio, big data, digital, mobile, network & local TV, social media and more.

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Letter from the Chair

Billy McDowell Happy New Year!

I am honored to be entering my second year as Chair of the Council for Research Excellence. Perhaps the best aspect of this position is that I have an opportunity to work directly with all of our members and various committees. I have no doubt that the CRE is composed of the most esteemed group of media researchers in the industry, and being able to work closely with them on important projects related to improving research methodology is a career highlight for me.

On the heels of a tremendously productive and successful 2016, we enter the new year full of energy and enthusiasm for producing new research, white papers and projects that advance our industry. One such project -- a white paper on hybrid measurement of local market radio -- is cited in this newsletter, and we'll have details on other projects in the months ahead.

Last but certainly not least, I want to express my best wishes to Ceril Shagrin on her retirement. Ceril preceded me as Chair of the CRE, and her counsel was invaluable to me as I settled into the role last January. Fortunately, Ceril is eligible to remain a participant in the CRE as a bridge member, so we all look forward to continuing to benefit from her wisdom and experience.

Billy McDowell Vice President, Research Raycom Media Chair, Council for Research Excellence

Latest News

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Billy McDowell Re-Elected as CRE Chair, Stacey Schulman Voted New Chair of Steering Committee at Q4 Member Meeting Expand

Billy McDowell, Vice President, Research, Raycom Media, was re-elected to a second one-year term as Chair of the CRE at the group's fourth quarter member meeting in December. His second term began January 1.

With the retirement of Ceril Shagrin (see related story), Stacey Schulman, EVP of Strategy & Analytics at Katz Media Group, was voted to serve as the new Chair of the CRE's Steering Committee. Steering Committee members are: Brad Adgate, Senior Director, Media Insights, Comcast Spotlight; Jon Cogan, Director, Video Research, Annalect; Tim Daly, EVP, Chief Information Officer, ITN Networks; Sara Erichson, EVP of Client Solutions, Nielsen; Janet Gallent, SVP, Strategic & Primary Research, NBC Universal; Pat Liguori, SVP Research & Electronic Measurement, ABC Owned Television Stations; McDowell; Keenan Pendergrass, Director of Station Research, Cox Media Group; and Robin Thomas, SVP Research, The Tribune Company.

Council Green Lights White Paper on Local Radio Measurement Expand

At its Q4 2016 member meeting, the Council voted to fund the creation of a white paper spearheaded by the CRE's Audio Committee, chaired by Buzz Knight, VP Programming, Beasley Broadcast Group. The paper, "CRE Framework for Hybrid Measurement of Local Market Radio Listening," will provide an overview of radio audience measurement and guidelines for evaluating new measurement techniques including Nielsen's new hybrid approach that combines traditional person-based measurement with passive or server side measures. The paper will be written by RTI International in conjunction with the CRE's Audio Committee. RTI recently completed a white paper for the CRE on data validation, and the new paper on local radio measurement will be an extension of that previous work.

CRE Chair Emeritus Ceril Shagrin Retires from Univision Expand

Billy McDowell, Ceril Shagrin, Richard Zackon Billy McDowell (left) and Richard Zackon joined CRE members in saluting Ceril Shagrin at the group's Q4 2016 meeting in New York.

Ceril Shagrin, Chair Emeritus of the CRE, has retired from her position as Executive Vice President of Audience Measurement Innovation & Analytics at Univision Communications. As such, she will be stepping down from her post as Chair of the CRE's Steering Committee (see previous story) but is eligible to serve on CRE committees as a bridge member.

CRE members toasted Shagrin at their fourth quarter meeting in December.

Billy McDowell, CRE Chair, said, "You have taught us all. You taught us about research, leadership, life and truth."

Richard Zackon, CRE Facilitator, said he valued Shagrin's partnership and compared her to the Statue of Liberty. "You're 'Lady Quality' and you hold that torch very high."

Shagrin is considered a pioneer in the field of Spanish-language television research. She was instrumental in demonstrating Univision's ratings parity with English-language broadcast networks when she engineered the network's migration to the Nielsen Television index (from the service's Hispanic monitor) and has been an industry leader in developing measurement tools that provide accurate, actionable data. 

Prior to joining Univision in 1999, Shagrin spent 27 years at Nielsen, where she was instrumental in the development of new systems and data collection techniques, and was the principal developer of the Nielsen Hispanic Service, which she managed for 10 years. She also played a key role in the implementation of the National People Meter Service and pioneered the development of Nielsen's measurement of non-traditional media such as place-based, out-of-home viewing and video news releases.

CRE Spotlight: Keenan Pendergrass, Director of Station Research, Cox Media Group Expand

Keenan Tell us a bit about Cox Media Group and your responsibilities as Director of Station Research.

Cox Media Group has 14 television stations across the country, and in addition the CMG media holdings includes radio stations, newspapers, digital properties and CoxReps. We have four duopolies and I’m based in Orlando, Florida at WFTV, the ABC affiliate, and WRDQ. As Director of Station Research for WFTV/WRDQ, I am responsible for all primary and secondary research and custom studies, audience development and strategic planning as well as working with Nielsen Media Research and our other research vendors.

In addition to my station responsibilities, over the past 15 years I have represented CMG on a number of industry boards and committees including the Nielsen Policy Guidelines Committee and the NAB Committee on Local Television Audience Measurement. I am a founding member and past chair of the ABC Television Research Advisory Board and am now a member of the Council for Research Excellence.

As a 32-year veteran of the broadcasting industry you have witnessed many changes over the years. How has local audience measurement, in particular, evolved over that time?

The opportunity to sit on so many different committees has afforded me a unique perspective on the changes to audience measurement. When I started there were daily household overnights and four sweep periods. The rating books gave you one data stream that included DVR (VCR) viewing for the past seven days. As cell phone technology has improved and access to data has become more readily available, local measurement changes have moved at an incredible pace. Most notably, the introduction of Local People Meter technology that has provided access to daily demographic reporting and multiple streams of data from Live Only to Live Plus 7. The challenge has always been keeping up with the change and accurately measuring local viewing. As we look to 2017 and beyond the ability to accurately measure local viewing in broadband-only homes and on cell phones and over the top devices as well as live streams on digital platforms means the evolution will continue for a long time

What do you see as the greatest need or needs for local research at this time?

Finding a Total Audience Measurement solution.

With the Baby Boom generation aging out of the 25-54 demographic, we must be able to capture the viewing habits of Generation X and Millennials. They don’t necessarily watch less television but they do watch television differently and local audience measurement must be able to capture viewing to all devices. As we move toward this next evolution of ratings, we must also think about the impact on the rules and guidelines that we have used in the past. Should different platforms have different guiding principles and rules for local audience measurement? How do we maintain consistency in ratings as we integrate data across platforms? How should data be released? There always seem to be more questions than answers but I have learned that there a many smart researchers across the country working in the data science and audience measurement fields and the most important thing we must do is voice our opinion and encourage a healthy dialogue

How can the CRE help advance local audience measurement?

By asking the hard questions and continuing to look specifically at the many options available for local audience measurement, from using Big Data and machine learning to using smart television technology, to look for realistic alternatives. Many of the CRE research projects the various committees are working on have some direct or indirect impact on local audience measurement and although that may not be the primary objective of a project it might be insightful for us look at the results of all our findings through the secondary lens of what impact they might have on local measurement.

What advice can you offer local researchers as to how they can best keep up with, and participate in, industry issues with regard to local measurement?

Network, ask questions and attend conferences. Volunteer for an industry committee or sub-committee. Don’t wait on someone to call you. With LinkedIn and the many resources available today it’s easy to find contacts that can help you. When I was chair of the ABC Research Advisory board we were constantly looking for volunteers from small, medium and large market stations and the question was always, “who do you know that would want to serve?” I’m sure each network has similar committees and it’s a great way to start your journey and expand your horizons. Local audience research is a unique field and we are often isolated in our own bubbles, constantly putting out fires and chasing answers to the many questions that we field from day to day. But some of my greatest satisfaction as a researcher came from serving on a board or committee. I made lifelong friends, found incredible mentors and learned just how an important role we all have as television researchers.