The Council for Research Excellence evaluated two primary factors affecting the accuracy of information gathered through ratings diaries — random errors and biases due to skewed audience samplings. Based on 11 years of Nielsen data, one study found that the margin of error in ratings derived from diaries is growing, meaning those figures are frequently off by more than 10%, long considered standard. The group’s other study found that ratings based on diaries continue to be skewed, despite efforts to reach a wider breadth of viewers by using address-based instead of phone-based audience samples.
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