How Can An External Audit Can Assist An Industry In Establishing The Credibility Of A Rating Service

George Ivie
Media Rating Council
Nick Terlizzi
Ernst & Young LLP

Introduction Why Media Research Auditing is Necessary

In the United States, the validity, reliability and effectiveness of media research is subject to self-regulation and monitoring through the accreditation functions of the Media Rating Council, Inc. (the Council or MRC). The Council was formed in the 1960s as a result of hearings by the U.S. Congress reviewing the practices of media research. At that time and partially as a result of the hearings, broadcasters concluded that if audience measurements of their programming were to be dependable and accepted, the ratings process would not only have to be more accurate, but also verified as accurate. This became the Council's first job to provide assurance that rating services were doing what they said they were doing. An integral part of the accreditation process was an auditing function, executed once a year on all regulated services, to prove disclosures and practices were in compliance with industry standards.