The author of a controversial PwC/Facebook report has defended the integrity of the research, bringing Nielsen under fire in the process.
Ben Shepherd, who is now chief media officer at CHE Proximity, previously worked as a director at PwC and oversaw the creation of the ‘My Screen – Video consumption in Australia’ report, which was removed last week after facing industry scrutiny.
In a LinkedIn post, Shepherd outlined how the team at PwC came up with the numbers it did.
“It would be a challenge, I told [Facebook], because there’s no single source of measurement and even disparity in time and ways things are measured,” Shepherd said.
“My view was, let’s use what we feel is the best available and spark a discussion. Let’s not position it as a single source of truth or a definitive piece.”
Data from Nielsen, Roy Morgan, Oztam and other PwC pieces were used to create the Facebook report, which Shepherd said took five months to collate and analyse.
With such a wide and varied set of data being used to produce the final findings, Shepherd suggested the team embraced the inconsistencies.
“My team at PwC also had to use varied data sets and suppliers, and the team knew this would be contentious. So, the approach was to “run towards the fire” and openly acknowledge this,” he said.
Despite this, the current CHEP executive said Nielsen has something to answer to.
“It was interesting that Nielsen will sell access to use a service, that they don’t stand behind when it comes to usage,” he said.
“They weren’t confident enough in it – despite their own information stating it does measure video consumption on desktop, mobile, tablet and app, excluding Connected TV as per the below Nielsen graphic available online clearly states.
“The limitations of Nielsen Digital Panel in my opinion deserve greater scrutiny, and as an industry there needs to be questions around how relevant and valid this panel – which is still actively sold and maintained – is for the future.”
He also said that if the report did in fact use “dodgy data” – as has been stated – “then the entire industry is influenced by dodgy data”.
Shepherd confirmed all Nielsen data had been removed from the latest version of the report.
Shepherd’s response comes after Facebook confirmed it had “paused” the distribution of the report last week, while it is reviewed and eventually re-released after Weaver said the numbers in the report had been used to hide “the real story” of Australian video consumption.