Advertising Professionals' Uses and Perceptions of a. C. Nielsen Syndicated Television Ratings

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Tommy V. Smith

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism


The uses and perceptions of Nielsen television ratings by advertising professionals is examined in this uses and gratifications study. Two groups, (1) advertising agency media directors, and, (2) national corporate advertising managers, were surveyed to determine if there is a significant difference between groups in how each uses and perceives Nielsen ratings. A 17-item instrument, mailed to the top 100 advertising agencies' media directors and the top 100 advertisers' corporate advertising managers, was employed to gather the quantitative data. The Likert-scale questionnaire was divided into four categories of investigation: (1) use of Nielsen ratings, (2) perceived accuracy of Nielsen ratings, (3) perceived need for better ratings, and, (4) perception of a possible difference between program ratings and audience exposure to commercials. There was one open-ended item on the questionnaire which invited respondents' views on Nielsen which were not covered by the closed-ended items. Categorically, a significant difference between groups was found in how each group used Nielsen ratings. While none of the other categories produced a significant difference between groups, one individual item in category two reflected that a significant difference exists between the groups.