How They Got the Nielsen diary

Nov 24, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Ask and ye shall receive … and then be punished by Nielsen Media Research. That is what happened in Corpus Christi, Texas, where CBS affiliate KZTV is to be excluded from all November sweeps reports because it violated Nielsen rules with on-air spots that superimposed its news team’s images on a Nielsen diary cover and thanked viewers “for making your choice.” Nielsen so closely guards its diaries that many local TV veterans have never even seen one. But KZTV General Manager Dale Remy said he simply asked Nielsen for a sample diary a couple of months ago and received one a few days later, no questions asked. “We changed the colors, we changed the shapes, we didn’t use their logo,” Mr. Remy said. “I’m not trying to play stupid here.” Mr. Remy knew he was pushing the acceptable envelope with the spots that ran some 20 times within KZTV’s news programs, which trail in the local ratings despite an extensive overhaul since Eagle Creek Broadcasting bought the station in 2002. “I was throwing a Hail Mary. I’ll admit that,” said Mr. Remy, who stopped airing the promo when Nielsen ordered him to but then failed to tell Nielsen that in writing. “All we were trying to do at the end of the day is get credit for people watching, which Nielsen should want to do as well,” Mr. Remy said.