Fox Deal With Rentrak Said To Presage New Battle With Nielsen

In what insiders say is the beginning of a new holy war between Fox and Nielsen, the Fox Television Stations group Wednesday announced a long-term deal with Nielsen rival Rentrak that is the first to cover local TV ratings for an entire network-owned TV station group.

It’s not the first time a major TV network has agreed to license Rentrak’s ratings -- in March, CBS announced a deal with Rentrak that included local TV ratings for four of its local station markets -- but this is the first to cover all the local markets it operates in.

The Fox deal affects 28 owned stations operating in 18 local TV markets from New York City to Ocala-Gainesville, Fla. The agreement provides Fox with access to Rentrak's StationView Essentials software and TV ratings information including Rentrak's single-source auto and political ratings.

An executive familiar with the deal said it’s not simply a hedge to develop an alternative source for TV ratings, but is part of a bigger fallout with Nielsen over its contract, and also relates to Nielsen’s push to introduce a controversial new “hybrid” method of measuring local TV audiences that has had many local broadcasters up in arms.

An aggressive position by the National Association of Broadcasters in February convinced Nielsen to delay a rollout of the method, which would add “broadband-only homes” into its local TV measurement samples, effectively reducing the number of “traditional” TV households, which many local broadcasters believe could negatively impact their ratings “currency,” leading to lower advertising rates and revenues.

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10 comments about "Fox Deal With Rentrak Said To Presage New Battle With Nielsen".
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , June 12, 2014 at 10:56 a.m.
    Let's see if I get it. The TV stations are upset because Nielsen is trying to include all TV homes in its ratings, adding a few who may not be frequent viewers of broadcast network/station fare. Since this might lower the stations' total universe ratings slightly, they are trying to force Nielsen not to go ahead with its plans. Reminds me of the good old days when similar pressures forced Arbitron, then a power in the local TV rating field, to name a former TV station group manager---a good guy, by the way---- as its president. Assuming that there are no methodological issues to resolve, why shouldn't Nielsen include all kinds of TV homes in its local ratings? Beats me.
  2. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC , June 12, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.
    Once again, I'm surprised by the simplistic nature of your analysis, Mr. Papazian. Unquestionably, Mr. Mandese and MediaPost are attempting to cover a breaking news story that points to an exceedingly complex business and research situation. How can you possibly conclude or "assume" that the sellers and buyers of TV audience research are without fundamental -- and reasonable -- methodological differences and financial challenges in 2014. You would have been on safer ground in your pithy, if not glib, situation analysis if you drew upon the distinguished management consulting wisdom of Peter Drucker. In his work "The Effective Executive," Professor Drucker encouraged managers seeking success, not only "to do the right things," but "to do things right." Before you make any further assessments, it would be good to be in possession of all the facts and not just "the first draft of history." Journalists have one job, professional researchers and effective executives have another. As it's said in Latin, "Suum cuique." ("To each his own.")
  3. Doug F from LLC , June 12, 2014 at 2:09 p.m.
    Nicholas Schiavone: Are you the blonde ponytail guy from "Good Will Hunting"? I swear that's you. Please give us more quotes in latin
  4. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC , June 12, 2014 at 2:23 p.m.
    Illegitimum Non Carborundum; Domine salvum fac. Illegitimum Non Carborundum; Domine salvum fac. Gaudeamus igitur! Veritas non sequitur? Illegitimum non Carborundum -- ipso facto!
  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , June 12, 2014 at 2:30 p.m.
    Nick, surely you realize that since the media----in this case the TV stations-----are the major financial backers of the audience studies, that they, quite naturally, want to make certain that the findings, in terms of their "audience counts", are favorable to them. You may have noted, that I said "assuming that there are no methodological issues to resolve". That covers the question of whether or not Nielsen has to refine its methodology in this regard, which is something I am well aware of. I don't need you to lecture me on that particular subject. Frankly, I find your continued defense of the old system of doing things a tad out of touch with the current scene. No one is against getting "all of the facts", however this simplistic refrain is often used as a delaying tactic. If we waited for all of the facts to be known, I doubt that we would have any of the media research studies that we now rely on to guide us. In any event, thanks for your interest. I assume that we will continue this dialog on many occasions in the future.
  6. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC , June 12, 2014 at 5:15 p.m.
    Last word: Once again, I'm surprised by the simplistic nature of your analysis, Mr. Papazian. Unquestionably, Mr. Mandese and MediaPost are attempting to cover a breaking news story that points to an exceedingly complex business and research situation. How can you possibly conclude or "assume" that the sellers and buyers of TV audience research are without fundamental -- and reasonable -- methodological differences and financial challenges in 2014. You would have been on safer ground in your pithy, if not glib, situation analysis if you drew upon the distinguished management consulting wisdom of Peter Drucker. In his work "The Effective Executive," Professor Drucker encouraged managers seeking success, not only "to do the right things," but "to do things right." Before you make any further assessments, it would be good to be in possession of all the facts and not just "the first draft of history." Journalists have one job, professional researchers and effective executives have another. As it's said in Latin, "Suum cuique." ("To each his own.")
  7. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , June 12, 2014 at 5:31 p.m.
    Hi, Nick. It looks as if you are a fan of the old and now outmoded "effective frequency" concept. Do you think that saying exactly the same thing twice makes it any more credible? Also, I had no beef with Joe's article. I was merely commenting on the situation that is developing, as reported in his piece. Finally, I'm not even sure what you mean when you say, "How can you possibly conclude or "assume" that the sellers and buyers of TV audience research are without fundamental--and reasonable-- methodological differences and financial challenges in 2014". Huh! When did I say anything like that----even if I knew what it meant? Once again, it's great to hear from you again. Pax vobiscum.
  8. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC , June 12, 2014 at 9:53 p.m.
    Et cum spiritu tuo.
  9. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , June 13, 2014 at 2:55 a.m.
    Your debating style is is truly amazing, Nick.
  10. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC , June 13, 2014 at 4:55 p.m.
    I accept your compliment and return a similar one to you. You might say we complement the MediaPost reading experience. Enjoy the peace & quiet of the weekend.