Category: Your Voice Written by Cheryl Pearson-McNeil
Isn’t it fascinating how a person can have a single idea or dream planted, take root and change the world as we know it? Well, that’s exactly how Nielsen came to be. This week, Nielsen will celebrate its 90th Anniversary. So, I’d like to give a sincere kudos to Nielsen on such a momentous, milestone anniversary. On August 24, 1923, in Chicago, a visionary engineer named Arthur C. Nielsen, Sr. (also known as A.C. Nielsen) first came up with the idea of selling performance surveys. He borrowed $45,000.00 to start a business to test the quality of conveyor belts and turbine generators. With those first, simple measurements, Mr. Nielsen introduced the concept of market research. Today, 90 years later, Nielsen has evolved and grown to become a global market research company with a presence in more than 100 countries – headquartered in New York and the Netherlands.
Did you know that Nielsen has many “firsts?” And we are most known for our TV ratings, but there is so much more. So, if you don’t mind, how about I share with you a short Nielsen history lesson today?
So here we go. After the engineering surveys, Nielsen began measuring drug and retail store sales in 1933, followed by food and department store sales the next year. Client service teams were assembled after in order to make sure the data being collected would be interpreted correctly and so that clients would have a liaison to work with on their day to day operations. And fueled by his passion and curiosity for consumer insights, A.C. Nielsen created the concept of “market share” in 1935.
Folks were listening to radio long before TV came along, so Mr. Nielsen acquired the rights to the first instantaneous Audiometer in 1936. This device attached to a radio to record when it was on and what station was being listened to. A few years later, in 1942, Nielsen’s radio index was launched in the U.S.
Also in the 1940s, the U.S. Chicago headquarters doubled in size and two more international offices in Canada and Australia were opened (the first opened in the United Kingdom in 1939). In addition to radio, the consumer and pharmaceutical indexes were introduced. Mr. Nielsen really stepped out on a limb in 1948 and invested in the first commercial computer, the UNIVAC 1. Now you can imagine this computer was far from today’s PC or even the new portable tablet devices. You know those giant, clunky metal and cable masses you may have seen in old sci-fi movies? Yes, that’s what it looked like. I wonder what Mr. Nielsen would say if he could see how technology has evolved today?
The infamous “Nielsen Ratings” as you know it, made its debut in 1950 when the company began measuring TV audiences. National daily TV ratings in the U.S. weren’t offered until 1973. And, who remembers when those now-ubiquitous bar codes (officially known as Universal Product Codes or UPCs) started popping up? Yes, it was Nielsen that introduced the scanning of bar codes in 1977. This revolutionized the way marketers and retailers were able to understand how and why consumers make purchasing decisions every day. Today, Nielsen measures 400 billion retail product transactions a year in more than 600,000 stores around the world.
As technology has continued to evolve, so have Nielsen’s measuring tools and methods. Today, Nielsen measures the activity more than half a million online panelists worldwide. Who remembers when there were only a few channels available for television? The famous “Black Box” made its debut in 1987 and used to capture the viewing habits of Nielsen households. Now there are hundreds of networks and channels from which to choose for our viewing pleasure – those premium channels that each have a specific interested audience and a plethora of program options as well. Talk about coming a long way? In addition to monitoring our viewing here in the U.S., today Nielsen also measures TV viewing audiences in 33 countries.
And with the changing times and how our lives have become so dependent on mobile devices, we can watch our favorite programs on our phones, tablets, computers and game consoles. So as the devices and gadgets evolved where we watch our favorite shows, so did Nielsen’s measurement services. In 2008, Nielsen began developing reports that detailed media usage across screens – television, internet, and mobile devices.
Nielsen’s history is progressive and delivers a forecast of infinite possibilities in years to come, which I hope inspires you. And, I hope you see and are empowered by your role in Nielsen’s success. Nielsen research, studies, survey results and data provide clients with this information to better engage and reach us and our communities. So here’s to another 90 years of innovation! I know you can’t wait to see what’s in store next.
Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Nielsen. For more information and studies go to www.nielsenwire.com
Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 August 2013 05:50
Category: Your Voice Written by Samuel Dorsey
Currently the issue of the minimum wage is a popular topic in the United States of America, Many want to raise the minimum wage at the federal level to eleven or fifteen dollars an hour stating that if we did so the economy would improve because people would have more money to spend. This point cannot be argued against; people of course will have more money if you pay them more money. However, this money is coming from other people and those people could simply raise prices to cover the losses. Also another argument against the raise is that it would harm small businesses because many are struggling to stay afloat as it is now and if you cut their profits further they may cease to be profitable.
The other side wants to eliminate the minimum wage saying it is discouraging business and impeding growth, this is also true because if there is no minimum wage potentially a business owner could hire more people for fewer wages and or cut costs, which would make goods more available and thus improve the economy. However if there is no minimum wage you have to pay there is a greater risk for disenfranchisement in poorer communities. The point brought against this is “If a company is not paying a competitive wage simply do not give them your labor.” This point makes sense if you are someone who has that financial security cushion, but in a community that is gripped by poverty this is simply not an option. True real poverty is a day after day struggle for sustenance, one afflicted with such a degree of poverty cannot reject a wage simply because it is too low. These facts stated shows the danger for a culture of disenfranchisement of poor areas is extreme and must be prevented at all costs.
What if we could somehow create a compromise between the two sides? A pay rise, yet at the same time and minimum wage decrease or keep it as it is now? It is indeed possible and indeed helpful to the economy. What I would propose is a raise in the minimum wage for interstate domestic corporations such as Wal-Mart or McDonalds, but place reasonable and fair price controls on products they sell that allow them to still make profits and grow but not simply just cover their losses by hurting the consumer. Also place simple benefits for hiring more workers like small tax breaks or allowances so the companies could not simply jettison workers to avoid paying more. Furthermore as to not harm small businesses set requirements and levels of businesses at which the rates apply for example a company like Wal-Mart that generates Billions in profit would have a higher minimum wage than say In-and-Out Burger or Black Bear Diner which are successful and bring in large amounts of revenue and are interstate cooperation, however they hardly bring in anything comparable to Wal-Mart. This stipulation ensures that large companies pay decent wages and smaller companies are able to generate capital and grow competitively. As with all things in government even this suggested system balance and correct management must be its cardinal rules. If administered properly the effects of this system are that small businesses will have more room to grow and hire while larger corporations will pay a fair wage and be able to actually increase profits in the long run because of the increased wages people will be earning more good will be purchased thus increasing revenue, Disenfranchisement is limited without hurting small business.
Last Updated on Friday, 16 August 2013 16:25
Category: Your Voice Written by Tom Watkins
The idea struck nearly twenty-five ago in1989 while on my first trip to China.
Why not open up the immigration gates to hard working, entrepreneurial Chinese to help fill the void caused by gaping holes in vacant downtown offices buildings, empty lots and emptying neighborhoods?
The idea seemed far-fetched at the time but is looking more plausible today.
Back then, I was a resident of Detroit – “The Renaissance City”, sporting my Emily Gail"Say Nice Things About Detroit" t-shirt.
I was and still am a big Detroit booster. My old neighborhood of North Rosedale Park and surrounding area was and remains an island of excellence surrounded by pockets of dispair. But the despair and decay is far greater today than yesterday.
Both Detroit and America were built on that motto inscribed on the Statue of Liberty plaque - America’s international welcoming symbol, reading in part:
"Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
When we look at all of the possible solutions currently being tossed about to re-populate the hollowed-out city of Detroit which has lost nearly 1.3 million people since the 1950s, attracting more immigrants from China and other nations holds great promise.
My eyes popped with the sheer levels of hustle, hard work, and entrepreneurial spirit I witnessed back in 1989 while walking the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Xian and exiting through the then-British managed colony of Hong Kong.
Our country has been and continues to be built on the energy of immigrants. When the doors are open, people of the world walk into America. They pour their energies into their homes and neighborhoods, growing families and creating vibrant new businesses. As they become settled, other family members follow and the process begins anew.
Governor Snyder, the self-described "most immigrant friendly governor in America" gets it when he said, "We always have been a welcoming country. If we made a short list of what made America great, immigration would be on it. Immigrants have left a positive, indelible imprint on our state and nation."
Yet, according to Kurt Metzger, of Data Driven Detroit, Detroit has not been keeping up when it comes to attracting people from other lands: "While overall population loss since 1950 has been accompanied by consistent drops in rank, Detroit still holds a ranking of 18th place in terms of total population as of 2012. When you look at our ranking based on our immigrant population, we drop to an abysmal 135th place."
Like Sgt. Friday, just the facts. DemographerMetzger points out that today, Detroit has one of the lowest percentages of immigrants (5 percent) among all communities in the metro region.
Out Of Pain Comes Strength
Detroit's decline creates renewed strength and hope for opportunity. It has an abundance of affordable commercial and residential property, an emerging business friendly government, a strong work ethic, and active ethnic social, professional, and business organizations. These make Detroit a bargain by anyone’s standards for people able to look beyond the blight to see the gem shining beneath.
Why not consider a comprehensive plan, with support from our state and nation’s capitols, to create a special immigration/green card. Come to Detroit as the 21st century homesteading plan. Fast track the card for those in the country illegally. Create a pathway to citizenship for them to live in and create businesses in Detroit.
Africans, Indians, Mexicans, Chinese, Russians, Europeans, Latin and CentralAmericans, Middle Easterners – all-come on down to MoTown!
Welcome to Detroit.
Tom Watkins has been a participant/observer of the political/policy scene in Detroit and Michigan for over 30 years. He is a US/China business, healthcare and educational consultant. Follow him on twitter @tdwatkins88. Email: tdwatkins88gmail.com
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 August 2013 08:16
Category: Your Voice Written by Bill Johnson
Detroiters went to the polls in the August primary election to decide the final candidates in the race for mayor. They took advantage of another chance to break from tradition to make a discriminating choice. Rather than disappoint, they revolutionized the process of change and sent shockwaves across the political landscape. So decisive was the vote that the general election will be a mere formality.
After Mike Duggan was officially kicked off the ballot, favorite son Benny Napoleon, a charismatic, attractive political option, was expected to captivate voters and dominate the campaign. The Napoleon camp coasted, believing that Duggan could not elicit significant voter interest as a write-in candidate. The outcome, however, was more like a near death experience for Napoleon.
Over what was thought to be a super-popular, shoo-in candidate, Duggan garnered 46-percent of the total vote, emerging the top vote getter in a crowded field. Napoleon was dealt a body blow and sent reeling.
As it turned out, a major bloc of Detroiters went to the polls and exhibited unprecedented sophistication and a mission to end the destructive parochialism of the past. That Duggan is white and Napoleon black apparently didn’t matter.
The electorate apparently felt that Napoleon’s camp was too willing to advance a sometimes veiled, and sometimes not-so-veiled divisive “us versus them” ideology to advance his political ends. Duggan was painted as an outsider, the candidate of the white suburban corporate elite. But voters scoffed at the undercurrent that Detroit is about to be taken over by outside interests. Black investment, after all, had been nothing more than a trickle for decades. And for the Napoleon camp to play the race card going forward will jeopardize his re-election for sheriff — or county executive should he choose to go that route.
It is too late for Napoleon to broaden his support base. Voters ignored the hoopla and hyperbole to critically examine the real prospect that organized labor might control Napoleon’s political lifeline and hold the city’s future hostage to its demands. Duggan, they concluded, would have a less parochial sense of the constituency and greater skill at building alliances and formulating critical partnerships with investors for the common good.
It may also be too late for Napoleon to modify the tone of his campaign, hone his message and offer a more comprehensive, realistic and understandable vision. Wary from waiting for campaign promises to reach their neighborhoods, voters signaled they want immediate attention to unmet public needs; city services, crime, inadequate trash pickup, neglected parks and playgrounds, unrepaired roads, shabby bus services and burned out homes. They are fed up with unattended vacant lots littered with garbage, old mattresses and abandoned cars.
Detroiters are finally taking seriously the need for change. Napoleon is beyond explaining how he would end bureaucratic inertia and implement sensible reforms that advance the city’s transformation and enrichment. There will be no last ditch rally to the side of the candidate seen as a status quo politician who would lead voters further away from wholesome neighborhoods and business communities.
With investment in the downtown comes a warm feeling of renewal and optimism. The expectations of residents are heightened because Detroiters believe Duggan more than Napoleon has a vision and a plan to reverse the city’s misfortunes.
So for all intents and purposes, the election is over. The turnout was low (17 percent of registered voters). But there’s reason to believe that if 100 percent of nonvoters participated, the outcome would have broken the same way as those who voted. The city, after all, has a homogeneous, ideologically loyal population. And the tendency is for people to coalesce around the perceived winner.
Napoleon’s best hope is that Duggan is charged and convicted of a heinous crime in the next couple of months. But that’s as much of a long shot as Napoleon’s chances of becoming the next mayor. Game over!
Last Updated on Friday, 16 August 2013 16:16
Category: Your Voice Written by Stacy Swimp
Nearly eight decades ago, Congress adopted the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and thus instituted a labor-law system empowering a single union to act as the “exclusive” bargaining agent for all the front-line employees in a business, regardless of whether they wanted to join that union or not.
As Herbert Hill, the labor director of the NAACP from 1951 to 1977, noted, the NLRA was adopted despite the “intense opposition of the NAACP, the National Urban League, and other Negro interest groups.” Hill explained: “[M]ost of the unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor [or AFL, a precursor of today’s AFL-CIO] either excluded Negro workers from membership…, thus preventing their employment in union-controlled jobs, or engaged in other discriminatory practices.”
W.E.B. Du Bois, cofounder of the NAACP, was one of the most outspoken opponents of any legislation granting special privileges to AFL union officials and berated Organized Labor for trying to “achieve freedom at the expense of the Negro.”
Of course, we know union officials ultimately ceased excluding black Americans and other minorities from membership and defending segregation in the workplace. However, the strait-jacket work rules and cookie-cutter compensation schemes which union officials still impose on workplaces often have the effect of hurting black Americans and other minorities, even though they are not overtly discriminatory.
Nevertheless, with the passage of time, more and more black American leaders became reconciled to the NLRA and monopoly unionism generally. Today, black politicians in Congress are among the NLRA’s most vociferous defenders. But is the impact of this law, enacted over strong black objections, really so much less harmful to minorities now than it was in the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s?
The U.S. tradition of federalism in policymaking provides us with a “field test” to answer this question. Today 24 states have on their books Right to Work laws prohibiting the termination of employees for refusal to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Right to Work laws thus loosen substantially the control Big Labor exercises over dissenting employees by empowering employees to cut off all financial support for the union. Therefore relocating from a forced-unionism state to a Right to Work state may properly be regarded as “foot voting” against monopolistic unionism.
By this standard, black Americans have for decades been expressing a strong preference for Right to Work states. For example, from 2000 to 2011, the black American population of the U.S. increased by 13.1 percent. But 74 percent of the overall increase occurred in the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books at the time, even though slightly fewer than half of all black Americans resided in them in 2000. (Since Indiana and Michigan became the 23rd and 24th Right to Work states in 2012, they are counted as forced-unionism states in this analysis.)
When confronted with such data, forced-unionism apologists sometimes suggest this massive migration is a result of an alleged atavistic black cultural affinity for the South rather than economics. But how then do they explain the fact that net Hispanic/Latino and Asian American from forced-unionism to Right to Work states was even more pronounced, in percentage terms, than net black (or white) American migration?
The demographic evidence is compelling that the compulsory-unionism system, regardless of its original intent, is in our time an “equal-opportunity destroyer” for employees of all races and ethnicities.
# # #
Stacy Swimp is president of the Frederick Douglass Society – a nonpartisan public policy and educational institution. This op-ed is adapted from a recent paper Swimp authored for the National Institute for Labor Relations Research.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 August 2013 09:22
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