Nielsen has bad time with clocks

Try again, shall we? Spring forward, fall back.For the first time in 40 years, Nat Abraham, A.C. Nielsen's director of marketing, says the venerable audience sleuth forgot to set its clocks back an hour to Standard time on Oct. 24.Abraham says...

Try again, shall we? Spring forward, fall back.

For the first time in 40 years, Nat Abraham, A.C. Nielsen’s director of marketing, says the venerable audience sleuth forgot to set its clocks back an hour to Standard time on Oct. 24.

Abraham says the slip-up occurred across the country, except in Saskatchewan where clocks are not altered.

Here is what happened in Quebec.

Nielsen, whose people meters allow the company to release viewing results quickly, announced the weekend of Oct. 24 that La Presse’s sponsorship of the televised Gala d’excellence had an audience of 700,000 on one channel, and tart-tongued talk show host Lise Payette had an audience of more than one million on another.

BBM figures

Two weeks later, BBM Bureau of Measurement and its slower diary method of tracking audiences reported the Gala had 583,000 viewers and Payette 516,000.

The discrepancy – and wonky addition for other shows – came to light when it was discovered the people meters’ internal clocks had not been adjusted and viewing figures were consequently all out of whack.

Marc Leduc, the number-punching director of research for Radio-Canada, not the boxer who won silver at the Barcelona Olympics, jumped in to defend Nielsen.

Leduc protested the company had gone over its sums for three weeks, and added bbm had issued corrections to its figures in the past.

With clocks set to the right time, here is what Nielsen found. Lise Payette had 516,000 viewers and the gala got 617,000.