This Is Only A Test: Nielsen Issues Alert About New Alert System

Nielsen sent an emergency alert to clients late Monday warning them that the federal government’s new Emergency Alert System (EAS) could wreak havoc with television ratings.

“Because this will be the first national EAS ever conducted, Nielsen’s technology team has identified some possible ways our technology could be affected, but we cannot guarantee that this list covers all scenarios or that these assumptions will apply to all cases,” Nielsen cautioned, outlining a number of potential SNAFUs that could occur during the test.

The test is the first nationwide of the new EAS developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission. It requires all local stations, broadcast networks, cable networks, satellite distribution sources, syndicators and public broadcast stations to participate. Nielsen said the FCC is requiring that the test last more than two minutes, but that “it is impossible to predict the exact duration.”

At the conclusion of the test, Nielsen said it will “validate” set-top box tuning by pulling audio/video clips to verify that they have switched back to proper channels, but it also gave recommendations for several technical steps telecasters can make to minimize the potential impact.



Next story loading loading..