Crisis Averted: Fox Stations Set New Terms With Nielsen

In a deal that came down to the wire, the Fox Television Stations announced an agreement with Nielsen to renew a long-term local TV ratings contract. The deal, which was announced at the close-of-business on the East Coast Monday, just as Fox's previous contract was set to expire, averted what would have been one of the biggest defections of a major TV stations group in recent history from Nielsen.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Fox was said to be pressing Nielsen hard on two major points in its contract renewal: the financial terms of the deal, as well as its methodological concerns over the current and future state of local TV audience measurement.

“Nielsen and Fox Television Stations Inc. have come to a mutually beneficial resolution to continue their longstanding relationship,” the companies said in a joint statement attributed to Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy and Nielsen President, U.S. Media, Lynda Clarizio. “Both companies are committed to more meaningful and accurate measurement in local markets. We look forward to a strong and productive relationship going forward.”

According to executives familiar with the negotiations, they became terse and Fox was preparing to pull out of Nielsen and go exclusively with rival Rentrak, which draws its local TV audience estimates from digital set-top viewing data.

While a number of major TV station groups have begun licensing Rentrak’s ratings, including Fox, none except the Sinclair Broadcast Group ever pulled out of Nielsen. According to a Nielsen spokesman, Sinclair did pull its business in 2012, but entered a new contract with Nielsen three months later. According to a Rentrak spokesman, Sinclair remains a Rentrak client as well.

4 comments about "Crisis Averted: Fox Stations Set New Terms With Nielsen".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 1, 2014 at 8:04 a.m.

    This was always the most likely scenario.

  2. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, July 1, 2014 at 8:29 a.m.

    Sounds like you guys got used.

  3. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, July 1, 2014 at 8:56 a.m.

    @ Darrin Stephens: How so?

  4. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, July 1, 2014 at 9:12 a.m.

    Ed, Let's sing "The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow."

    Darrin, Let's sing "Suspicious Minds."

    Forecasting the weather after it's occurred and blaming the messenger are what make the advertising research profession so admirable.

    Let's hear it for the real MAD Men.

    Onwards and upwards.

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