“CBS is considering ending its longstanding contract with TV ratings provider Nielsen as it looks for new ways to measure audiences in the multiplatform universe,” Variety reports. “The nation’s most-watched TV network is prepared to drop Nielsen’s measurement services if the two sides can’t come to an agreement by the end of this month, according to a person familiar with the matter.”
According to Variety’s source, the CBS contract with Nielsen, said to be worth more than $100 million a year, is set to expire at the end of the year.
“CBS senior executives have informed CBS O&O stations and various other business units to prepare in case a deal with Nielsen cannot be reached, this person said,” Variety reports, noting that the source said the chance of a breakdown in talks is “not remote.”
“CBS is seeking ‘a competitive rate’ from Nielsen given that there are more measurement alternatives available for a marketplace that has moved well past the linear TV ratings that Nielsen has delivered for decades,” Variety adds.
The report notes that a rep for Nielsen suggested that CBS’s threat to drop the rating service amounts to posturing during difficult negotiations.
Variety quotes a spokesman for Nielsen saying: “We expect to arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement well in advance of Dec. 31.”