NBCU Won’t Use Initial Spot Ratings

Oct 23, 2006  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal, one of the companies that is seeking commercial ratings for its broadcast networks, said Monday its cable networks will opt out of the first batches of data from Nielsen Media Research.

“A lot of issues were raised about how cable was being measured and Nielsen hasn’t come up with a clear-cut way to address those issues,” said Alan Wurtzel, executive VP for research at NBC Universal. “We didn’t want data to come out that we had no confidence in.”

NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox in June asked Nielsen to produce data that measures the average viewership during the commercial minutes in individual shows. Advertisers are looking for a better measure of how many people are watching the spots they buy. Current ratings measure how many people are watching programs.

Nielsen also planned to measure average commercial ratings for cable and syndicated shows, but cable networks found some major glitches in the data, including difficulties in separating certain local commercial breaks from national breaks.

Last week, Nielsen delayed the launch of the service from November to Dec. 11. It also said it would label the initial data as experimental and give cable networks the ability to opt out until they’re confident in Nielsen’s methodology.