Nielsen, DC Station End Up In A Storm Over Hurricane Data

Nielsen Media Research Friday admonished one of its clients - Washington, DC, station WJLA-TV - and asked it to immediately stop airing promos touting that "more viewers turned to ABC-7 News than any other Washington station" last week during Hurricane Isabel.

Nielsen said the station's promo was based on an "erroneous newspaper" story headlined "WJLA's Isabel coverage wins big" that cited Nielsen data.

The moves follow Nielsen's decisions to withhold audience ratings for the Washington market for the period of Sept. 18-22 due to massive power outages that prevented it from capturing a valid sample for the market. While Nielsen did provide some incomplete data to stations in Washington and other markets, it warned that the data should be used only for internal purposes.

Nielsen confirmed that it made such data available to WJLA and to another undisclosed station in the market, but added "clients understood these data should not be used for buying, selling and promotional purposes."

While it did not directly accuse WJLA of leaking the data, Nielsen noted "the release of such data into the marketplace, whether inadvertent or intentional is misleading and deceptive."

It also claimed WJLA was "misusing Nielsen data" by running its promos and asked the station to sop immediately.



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