Desk-less by Design: How MMWW’s Early Bet on Remote Work Paid Off

By members of the MMWW team Daniella Matias and Jennifer Smith


After announcing it would ditch its legacy metric in time for the 2023 upfronts, Nielsen did a 180
on the eve of the annual advertising showcase and decided to keep its current system in place.

Our Predictions

  • Nielsen will lose its iron grip on TV measurement. In 2021, the Media Rating Council
    (MRC) suspended its accreditation of Nielsen’s national TV measurement service. While
    the MRC has since reinstated Nielsen, the firm has fallen a long way from the days in
    which it was the gold standard for audience measurement and the de facto currency for
    TV advertising. Despite extending its C3 and C7 phaseout past 2024, its monopoly over
    measurement could be over.
  • With that said, Nielsen will continue to be a key player in a multi-currency world. In the
    free-for-all that resulted from Nielsen’s fall from grace, a slew of measurement companies
    have been courting TV networks and streaming services with systems that measure
    across linear and digital platforms. Given its long dominant industry position and
    infrastructural advantages, Nielsen may very well thrive in a decentralized environment,
    especially among smaller networks that can’t afford to support more than one currency.

A Closer Look

Nielsen’s vacillation on retiring its legacy metric system has stirred the advertising industry,
leaving brands to navigate an uncertain landscape in TV ad measurement. As Nielsen oscillates,
the shift from linear TV to connected TV (CTV) and the broader spectrum of digital platforms has
rendered its traditional C3 and C7 ratings—metrics that have underscored TV ad measurement for
over a decade—increasingly obsolete. This move, or lack thereof, signals a critical moment for
brands, demanding adaptability and foresight in their advertising strategies.

C3 and C7 ratings (live viewing plus DVR playback up to 3/7 days) have defined TV ad
measurement for the past 16 years, but they no longer reflect how people watch. Nielsen
introduced C3 ratings in 2007 to account for commercials viewed during a live broadcast and in
the three subsequent days on a time-shifted basis. Five years later, Nielsen expanded the
commercial ratings window to seven days post-broadcast. But now the massive shifts from linear
to CTV over the past decade have rendered Nielsen’s methodology obsolete. Despite Nielsen’s
latest delay, it’s a new day in TV ad measurement, as evidenced by the many analytics firms that
are rushing in to fill the void left by the ratings giant.

The Impact on Brands

Nielsen’s indecision and the eventual, though delayed, phasing out of its traditional currency pose
significant challenges and opportunities for brands. The landscape of TV ad measurement is
fragmented, making it crucial for brands to:

  • Diversify Measurement Strategies: Relying solely on Nielsen’s ratings will no longer
    suffice. Brands must explore and integrate alternative measurement systems that account
    for the full spectrum of viewer behavior across linear and digital platforms.
  • Embrace Multi-currency Environment: The entrance of various analytics firms into the TV
    measurement space indicates a shift towards a multi-currency world. Brands will need to
    become fluent in multiple metrics and be able to understand the nuances of the new
    players and what they bring in order to accurately assess their advertising’s reach and
  • Prioritize Flexibility in Ad Buying: As the measurement landscape evolves, so too must
    ad buying practices. Brands should seek more flexible arrangements that allow for
    adjustments based on the most current and comprehensive viewership data.

Adapting to the New Landscape

Despite the uncertainty, brands can take proactive steps to adapt to these changes in TV ad

  • Invest in Analytics: Whether working with an agency or enhancing in-house analytics
    capabilities can help brands make sense of diverse data sources, ensuring they can
    evaluate the effectiveness of their advertising efforts comprehensively.
  • Partner with Emerging Players: Engaging with newer measurement firms can offer
    insights that Nielsen’s traditional metrics may miss, especially in understanding the
    behaviors of CTV and digital audiences.
  • Advocate for Standardization: While exploring new metrics, brands should also
    participate in industry efforts to standardize measurement across platforms, ensuring
    comparability and minimizing complexity.


Nielsen’s recent actions underscore the transformative period TV ad measurement is undergoing.
As Nielsen navigates its position within this changing environment, the onus is on brands to
remain agile, embracing the complexities of a multicurrency world while advocating for clarity and
consistency in measurement standards in order to ensure advertising efforts remain impactful in
our ever evolving media landscape. Measurement is one of our favorite topics here at Media
Matters Worldwide. If you have questions and want to brainstorm, give us a call!