CBS: Nielsen Using 'Market Power' To Raise Prices

CBS says Nielsen is using its “market power” to bundle services and raise prices. That is the network's explanation for its impasse in renewing its contract with the media and measurement company.

On December 31, CBS' contract with Nielsen expired -- a deal estimated to cost the network $100 million a year.

CBS on Thursday stated: “The entire media industry is aware of the need for complete and accurate measurement across platforms. While Nielsen has made some strides in this area, progress has not been what we and many clients would like, and local TV measurement is particularly challenged.” 

Nielsen continues to be the “currency” -- the basis of deals with TV advertisers, in terms of viewership data for virtually the entire industry.

CBS adds: “As a result, we are currently at a contractual impasse, although we continue to be open to negotiating a fair deal that makes strategic and financial sense for CBS. If we cannot come to an agreement with Nielsen, we will continue to employ the many viable alternatives available to us, including Comscore.”



Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group, has said: “It is highly unlikely to end with anything other than a renewal in the next couple of weeks.”

He adds: “It remains a commercial near impossibility for any station group to go without Nielsen’s data in major markets for more than a short period of time. Their ability to negotiate and capture market share from advertisers would be severely hampered if they do so.”

One media agency executive wonders how advertisers will receive results from CBS -- the "post" results on their media buys with the network. Although media agencies have their own Nielsen viewing data, CBS cannot officially use any Nielsen data from agencies or other sources.

Nielsen stated: “We have an open negotiation with CBS and expect to arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement.”

3 comments about "CBS: Nielsen Using 'Market Power' To Raise Prices".
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  1. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, January 3, 2019 at 11:17 a.m.

    Methinks CBS can use agency-supplied Nielsen data if it pertains specifically to an existing advertiser's TV buy.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 3, 2019 at 4:35 p.m.

    There is not even a small chance that this will result in CBS not renewing shortly as there is no other viable option that is acceptable---however with some reservations---by time buyers. It's all about the pricing, folks.

  3. John Grono from GAP Research, January 3, 2019 at 5:27 p.m.

    Phew.   Thank goodness a network would never use its market clout to bundle ad packages in something like, say, an upfront deal, or would price its inventory growing in CPM when its audience is declining.

    It will be 34C here today (93F) - should I be expecting snowballs from hell?

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