Whoa! Nation’s Largest TV Station Owner Plans to Stop Using the Gold Standard, TV Show Ratings, as Basis to Sell Advertising. Whither Nielsen?

Oct 28, 2019  •  Post A Comment

“The nation’s largest owner of television stations said it intends to drop the use of traditional TV ratings as the basis for advertising deals,” reports our good pal Brian Steinberg in a scoop for Variety.

The story continues, saying that the station owner, Nexstar, will “instead work to tell sponsors about the number of people watching its programs in aggregate, no matter if they use a living-room screen or mobile device.”

Steinberg adds, “Nexstar Media, which operates nearly 200 stations across 115 different markets, intends to rely on counting unduplicated audience impressions, and using those numbers as the critical element in how many people view programming.”

The story notes that Nexstar “has been working with Comscore, a media-measurement concern, to provide advertisers with audience measures across TV, digital, mobile and streaming-video outlets.”

The story quotes Tim Busch, president of the company’s Nexstar Broadcasting unit, saying “Advertisers want to reach as many people as possible through as many resources as we have available, and the buying process needs to get easier.”

Steinberg’s story also had this reaction from Nielsen, which has long been the leader in providing the industry with TV ratings: “With the increase of cross platform campaigns, stations are looking to use impressions rather than percentages for comparability across platforms. Nielsen has always provided clients with impressions and they are the foundation for all of our calculations.That said, ratings, reach and frequency will still have a strong place in the planning and programming processes. The need to know unique audience is critical to the marketplace.”

According to Nexstar’s website, the company “owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to 197 television stations (including partner stations) in 115 markets or approximately 63% of all U.S. television households including 142 local web sites and 316 local news and weather mobile apps.”

To read more details about this item we urge you to click here, which will take you to Steinberg’s original Variety story.


  1. Bravo … kudos to Nexstar for being brave and to help send the Nielsen ratings monopoly into oblivion where they belong …

  2. Nielsen has always provided station totals and re-expressed station deliveries as DMA ratings. The stations preferred using the ratings and many now prefer using the impressions so they can be combined with impressions delivered on other media. National impressions have been the currency for national tv business for a while now. We see both. Getting both is not a problem. It’s a good thing.

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