Susan Whiting

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
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.

"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."

Highlights
Susan Whiting on Nielsen's brand
00:58
Susan Whiting on measuring media consumption by college students living away from home
02:19
Susan Whiting on ratings demographics
02:01
Susan Whiting on diversity in Nielsen samples
02:21
Susan Whiting on Nielsen Top Tens
00:57
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on majoring in economics in college; on being an inaugural member of Nielsen Research's management training program
On Nielsen in the late 1970s; on the Nielsen family and working in business development and sales; on sample selection and research
On research for cable television in its early years; on her work in sales, product design, and her rise to CEO; on HBO and Nielsen's business model
On integrating research and ratings; on the growth of the cable industry; on the evolution of how audiences are measured
On measuring media saturation and multiplexing; on measuring media consumption by college students living away from home
On data collection and "overnights"

Chapter 2

On "overnights", contd.; on processing information from DVRs; on fast-forwarding commercials and digital signatures
On selecting panels and collecting meter and diary information; on sample size and diversity; on global trends
On ratings demographics; on Nielsen Top Tens and year-end and season-end ratings; on criticism of ratings
On a typical work week for her as Vice-Chairman of Nielsen; on her management style and being a female executive in the media world
On mentors; on Nielsen ownership changing hands and Nielsen's brand; on consumer behavior and challenges and accomplishments in her career
On career regrets, advice to aspiring Research Executives, and her future
On a tour of Nielsen meters through the years
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Susan Whiting on her mentors
01:45

Criticism of TV

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Susan Whiting on criticism of Nielsen ratings
01:11

Diversity in Television

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Susan Whiting on diversity in Nielsen samples
02:21
Susan Whiting on being a female executive in the media world
01:26

Minorities

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Susan Whiting on diversity in Nielsen samples
02:21

Technological Innovation

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Susan Whiting on Nielsen measuring media saturation and multiplexing on various platforms
04:28
Susan Whiting on data collection over the years
05:58
Susan Whiting on a tour of Nielsen meters through the years
21:26

Television Industry

View Topic
Susan Whiting on being an inaugural member of Nielsen Research's management training program
03:10
Susan Whiting on what she learned about cable television in its early years
02:42
Susan Whiting on Nielsen measuring media saturation and multiplexing on various platforms
04:28
Susan Whiting on criticism of Nielsen ratings
01:11

Women

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Susan Whiting on being a female executive in the media world
01:26
Professions

Executives

View Profession
Susan Whiting on her rise from working in sales to becoming CEO of Nielsen
02:03
Susan Whiting on a typical work week for her as Vice-Chairman of Nielsen; on how her role has evolved over the years
02:56
Susan Whiting on her management style
00:44
Susan Whiting on being a female executive in the media world
01:26
Susan Whiting on advice to aspiring Research Executives
01:21

Television Executive

View Profession
Susan Whiting on her rise from working in sales to becoming CEO of Nielsen
02:03
Susan Whiting on a typical work week for her as Vice-Chairman of Nielsen; on how her role has evolved over the years
02:56
Susan Whiting on her management style
00:44
Susan Whiting on being a female executive in the media world
01:26
Susan Whiting on advice to aspiring Research Executives
01:21

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