Turner Opts Out of Initial Commercial Ratings

Oct 24, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Turner Broadcasting said Tuesday its networks will not participate in the first wave of average commercial minute ratings being calculated by Nielsen Media Research.

Also declining to participate with Nielsen at this point are the ESPN networks, Discovery Communications’ networks, Lifetime Entertainment’s networks, Fox Cable Group networks and MTV Networks.

NBC Universal said Monday its cable networks would not participate because cable networks have found several glitches in the way Nielsen is compiling the data for shows on cable and in syndication. NBC is participating in the commercial ratings for its broadcast network.

Turner chief research officer Jack Wakshlag told Nielsen “we will not consider opting in until such time as you treat cable and broadcast network equally for local avails, and are satisfied that you are accurately capturing commercial occurrences.”

Mr. Wakshlag said he had found additional errors in the way Nielsen’s Monitor Plus systems identifies ads on Turner’s cable networks.

“The system is just not ready and I will not devote company resources to looking at faulty data,” Mr. Wakshlag said. “You know the data is not ready. I am distressed that you will be releasing it anyway, even as ‘evaluative,’ and strongly urge you to reconsider.”

The broadcast networks in June asked Nielsen to create a new measurement system that would calculate the ratings for the average commercial minute in each program. Advertisers would like such a system because it would come closer to measuring how many people are watching their commercials, rather than measuring the viewership of the programs themselves.

Last week, Nielsen said it was delaying the release of the first set of numbers from November to Dec. 11. It also said that it would label this season’s data as “evaluative” and that networks that didn’t want to be included would be able to opt out.