In late December, Nielsen dropped a bit of a news bomb that their out-of-home modeling and measuring had undercounted viewership to a bigger degree than previously thought.

Now, one trade group has an estimate as to just how much money that may have cost networks in ad revenue: $350 million.

That’s according to a report from the Video Advertising Bureau, which notes that Black and Hispanic markets were especially undercounted. Jack Neff had details at AdAge:

The VAB said Nielsen’s recount so far shows $350 million in lost network revenue and suggests the overall total will be more than $700 million.\
Nielsen has since reprocessed half of the 16 months in question, according to the VAB, and the results show a far bigger impact than previously disclosed.
Overall, the reprocessed months so far indicate a loss of $350 million in ad revenue for networks, according to the VAB, and since those months represent less than half the total undercount period, the group estimates the total impact at more than $700 million.
This has obvious sports media implications considering how much out-of-home viewing is essentially watching live sports. As for the details on the demographics most disproportionately miscounted:
The undercount resulted in 30 billion ad impressions disappearing from May through December 2021, including 10.5 billion among people 18-34. Of those 30 billion lost impressions, a disproportionate 7 billion were ads seen by Black viewers, and 5.5 billion were seen by Hispanic viewers. Black and Hispanic people made up close to 42% of the lost impressions, compared to making up 31% of the overall U.S. population in the 2020 Census.
This isn’t good news for Nielsen, which has faced questions for a while now from networks unhappy with how their modeling and measuring tracks modern viewing habits and platforms. NBCUniversal recently announced a test of a different service for the Super Bowl and the Olympics, hoping to use data gained during the test for upfront sales this year. Obviously news that the damage might have been even worse than previously thought is not going to go over well with anyone involved.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.