Sun Broadcasting Moves To Comscore, Claims Nielsen Was Undercounting Audience

Sun Broadcasting has signed with Comscore for local audience measurement for its Ft. Myers, Florida-based TV stations, including WXCW-TV (CW), WUVF-TV (Univision) and WANA-TV (Azteca). 

In the announcement, Sun President Jim Schwartzel alluded to Nielsen, without using its name, and claimed that its local panel is too small to capture the market’s viewing accurately. 

“We subscribed to Comscore because of the dramatic improvement of sample size, nearly 300,000 households, for television viewing in Fort Myers,” Schwartzel stated. “Surveying 400 households is not large enough to capture fragmented viewing in a large and diverse market. Compounding the small sample issues: Viewer assignment is beyond flawed and particularly devastating for broadcasters of independent, CW and Spanish language television stations.” 



“Our market is 21+% Hispanic, and our previous measurement service showed all Spanish language stations combined couldn’t get a 1… while the #1 general market radio station is Spanish-language,” he continued. “We knew something was up. With Comscore’s vast measurement, including direct measurement of one in every two market households, our Univision affiliate now routinely ranks in the top 4. We look forward to using Comscore to more accurately purchase syndicated programming, adjust our schedules, accurately target on-air promotional campaigns and design highly effective advertising schedules with our local agency and advertising partners.” 

Fort Myers Broadcasting, which owns CBS affiliate WINK-TV, ad is run by Jim Schwartzel’s father, Joe, signed with Comscore in March, notes NextTV.

Nielsen responded to Sun Broadcasting’s assertions with this statement: “Nielsen accurately measures the Ft. Myers DMA and is committed to fully representative samples of the population. As the only measurement provider of persons-level data, we are confident that all populations are accurately represented in our panels. Over the past years, we have made significant investments to innovate and transform how Local TV is measured. By combining our advanced meter technology, big data, and panels we are providing local broadcasters with complete, in-depth, and accurate metrics that are representative of local viewing behaviors. We look forward to working with all broadcasters to ensure they have a complete understanding of our data and methodology.”

Sun Broadcasting’s assertions come as Nielsen is also facing criticism about its national panel from advertising trade group VAB, which asserts that Nielsen has been “undercounting overall TV use” since the national TV panel stopped entering homes during the now year-long COVID-19 pandemic.

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