A pair of stations in markets where Nielsen ratings are generated, in part, from diaries has begun receiving Rentrak's ratings system, based on set-top-box data. Gray Television has signed for a station in Omaha, while Global Broadcasting will use it at the ABC station in Providence, which it purchased in 2007 from Freedom Communications.
The Omaha market relies entirely on diaries for Nielsen ratings, while Providence is a set-meter market, meaning that household ratings come daily, but demographic ratings are available only four times a year during sweeps periods.
Stations that rely on Nielsen diaries for ratings have shown some interest in the Rentrak data, believing it may be more stable, since there is no reliance on viewers having motivation and attention to detail in filling out diary books.
Before Gray reached its latest deal with Rentrak for its NBC station in the Omaha market, Gray had already been receiving the company's data for its stations in Wichita (ABC) and Topeka (CBS). All three are diary-only markets.
Charlie Peterson, the general manager for Gray's Omaha outlet, indicated that the other two Gray stations have been using the Rentrak's StationView Essentials data to make deals with advertisers, as well as for other projects.
The stations have been "successfully selling" the information, and he stated it can provide "unique insights" to help "our sales, programming and promotions efforts."
Stations are not dropping Nielsen data en masse. Many are using the more-frequent Rentrak data to offer direction when making sales decisions.
Rentrak says it offers set-top-box-based ratings in all 210 markets as it culls information from boxes owned by several providers. In some markets, it produces its data from a combination of the box information and modeling where data from similar markets is used as guidance.