"That's something Nielsen is kind of uniquely positioned to do: measure 'what am I buying, and what am I watching?' That combination was true when Mr. Nielsen started the company -- those were the two pieces. It's still true today."
About This Interview
In her two hour Archive interview, Susan Whiting talks of her interest in mathematics and economics and becoming one of the first members of Nielsen Research's management training program. She describes what Nielsen was like in the late 1970s when she arrived, documents the growth of the cable industry and Nielsen's ratings tracking systems for the burgeoning market, and outlines the company's business model. Whiting then illustrates her rise from working in sales, to product design, to becoming CEO and then Vice-Chair of the company. She explains how Neilsen collects data, conducts research to measure ratings, and how they account for multiplexing (consuming media on multiple platforms). Whiting describes how Nielsen panels and Top Ten lists are assembled, speaks of criticism ratings receive, and outlines what a typical work week is like for her. She also comments what it's like being a female executive in the media world, and gives a brief tour demonstrating the evolution of ratings-tracking tools over the past several decades. Karen Herman conducted the interview on October 19, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.