Nielsen’s commitments to People, Product and Thought Leadership
In all that we do, we aim to embed the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). To truly measure everyone, across all channels and platforms, we must uncover new insights into and about diverse, often overlooked communities and the content they watch. A truly inclusive measurement of the media—on both sides of the screen— is one essential way we aim to power a better media future for all people. Our efforts also extend internally, toward building and nurturing the talents of a diverse workforce and supply chain and by providing support to diverse communities.
Nielsen’s commitment to DE&I starts at the top. In March 2021, Sandra Sims-Williams was appointed Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), taking over for CEO David Kenny, who had held the title alongside his duties as CEO since February 2019. Prior to this role, she led Nielsen’s DE&I strategy as Senior Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. As CDO, she continues to lead Nielsen’s DE&I team and to accelerate our journey toward creating not just a company, but a media landscape at large that is more inclusive.
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“Diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to everything we do at Nielsen. When we operate in a culture that is diverse, equitable and inclusive, innovation flourishes, our clients win, and employees are engaged and collaborate to bring the best that Nielsen can offer to the communities we measure.
At the end of the day, fostering diversity, equity and inclusion isn’t just a good thing to do—itʼs crucial to the success of our business and all businesses.”
— David Kenny, CEO
Our DE&I approach centers on four core areas that are geared toward maximizing our impact both internally and externally:
- Products and thought leadership
- Business diversity
- Community engagement
Part 1 today dives deeper into People and Products and thought leadership, and Part 2 will be published soon focusing on Business diversity and Community engagement.
Inclusion and representation are foundational to our workforce. We believe that fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce and team culture is imperative, and so do our employees. Our people bring an unmatched level of passion and commitment to Nielsen’s DE&I efforts. This includes efforts such as voluntarily coding and labeling content to support the launch of Inclusion Analytics; organizing educational webinars and panel events on diverse communities; and self-starting new Business Resource Groups (BRGs) based on opportunities to celebrate various aspects of their identities.
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At the same time, Nielsen works to ensure that DE&I principles are interwoven into all aspects of our culture, from recruiting to retention and development. Since 2016, we have required diverse slates for all open positions. In the United States, we define “diverse slates” as including at least one ethnically diverse candidate and at least one female candidate. Globally, diverse slates focus on having at least two female candidates in the set for consideration.
Building a more inclusive and equitable future takes long-term commitment. We recognize that a culture driven by Inclusion, courage and growth requires ongoing learning and development at various levels of the organization. We offer a range of resources to our employees to build knowledge around the importance of DE&I in our culture and business, while also encouraging and developing the next generation of diverse leadership. In 2021, we launched Dialogues, a training module focused on foundational DE&I principles. The course, offered through our e-learning platform in four modules and 11 languages, is open to all employees and reached almost 1,200 unique learners in 2021. It covers topics such as cultural competence, diplomacy and fostering an environment of dignity and respect.
Including the addition of two new groups in 2021—Believe, our inter-faith BRG, and our Native American, Tribal and Indigenous Voices (NATIV) BRG—Nielsen offered a total of 13 BRGs during 2021. A 14th, Marhaba (meaning “hello” in Arabic), was launched in early 2022 to support and connect our community of co-workers who are of Arab descent. Our network of BRGs offers an opportunity for employees to form bonds over shared identities, to network across the company and to drive a culture of inclusivity and impact. Over 300 BRG leaders globally served more than 3,500 members in 2021, helping to build more programming and advocacy around inclusive culture. Each BRG has an Executive Committee sponsor, and two Executive Sponsors are asked to serve as ambassadors for each group, supporting the BRG leaders, individual members and associated programming at the highest level of the organization. Over 30 Nielsen executives currently serve as BRG sponsors.
Products and thought leadership
Advertisers and companies that acquire, distribute, develop and produce content look to viewership and marketing data to inform their investment decisions. As a global leader in audience measurement, data and analytics, we are well-positioned to illuminate on-air content by measuring who, what and how content is consumed. This is both an opportunity and a particularly important responsibility, as the entertainment industry continues to address deep-seated issues around representation and equity.
Beyond our efforts to ensure our measurement panels—which we methodically recruit to represent an accurate cross- section of the population—are diverse and inclusive, we continue to invest in products and solutions that accelerate diversity transformation in the entertainment industry.
For example, in early 2021, we launched Gracenote Inclusion Analytics, a unique tool offering cohesive measurement of both U.S. viewership and on-screen representation by race, gender, sexual orientation and other metrics. It’s a key piece of our mission to measure everyone, and ultimately help drive meaningful progress toward truly inclusive content that is brought to the world by diverse creators. The tool marries data from various Nielsen sources to create a complete look at diversity on screen compared with audience demographics. Crucially, we have also structured Gracenote Inclusion Analytics to understand how marginalized groups are portrayed on screen. The tool can provide context on themes associated with different identity groups in on-screen content, creating a fuller picture of not just who is represented, but how they might be perceived by viewers.
In early 2022, we took a major step toward elevating the visibility of diverse-owned media in the U.S., with the launch of our Diverse-Owned Media Equity program. The first-of- its-kind initiative brings diverse-owned media companies and distributors—which have historically seen lower rates of investment from advertisers—under the umbrella of Nielsen measurement, helping to illustrate the true power of their reach into diverse communities and markets. Since November 2021, the Nielsen local TV service has included audience estimates of full-power, non-subscribing minority-owned and nonprofit TV stations. Additionally, minority-owned radio stations that qualify for exempt status are also reported in the Nielsen Audio in Summary Data Sets, regardless of subscriber status.
Nielsen has also seeded a reimbursement program with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) to help cover the certification fees for diverse-owned media suppliers that qualify. The fund, which will be administered by the NMSDC, aims to provide nearly 200 diverse publishers with the benefits of Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification, which is frequently required by large companies to qualify for diverse investment.
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