Entertainment production company and TV station owner Allen Media Group is suing Nielsen for “intentional misrepresentation and fraud by concealment” -- claiming that the Nielsen TV panel ratings system is "unreliable and flawed."
Allen Media Group consists of CF Entertainment and Entertainment Studios, which also owns The Weather Channel. The group also has 27 TV stations in 21 markets, and 12 HD television networks.
Byron Allen is chairman and chief executive officer, who founded Allen Media Group/Entertainment Studios in 1993.
The suit was filed after recent disclosures Nielsen under-counted viewership during the COVID-19 pandemic period, as well as "out-of-home viewers from September 2020 through December 2021."
While the lawsuit does not ask for specific financial compensation, it says that "plaintiffs' damages include millions of dollars in fees paid to Nielsen for shoddy and unreliable services, millions of dollars in lost advertising revenue and profits."
The suit says: "Nielsen received millions of dollars in fees to rate Entertainment Studios' networks based on false promises that Nielsen would provide reliable and valuable ratings services."
Other media companies suffered the same results, according to the complaint. “It is estimated that Nielsen 'caused' these media companies billions of dollars in damages.”
Part of the agreement with Nielsen was to provide the company with “accredited” viewer measurement. Because Nielsen's local TV and national TV panel system is now not accredited by the Media Rating Council, as of September 2021, it now asks for "reformation of contract."
Allen’s Entertainment Studios acquired cable TV network The Weather Channel in 2018. It now claims that it recently determined that the ratings for this network were also "unreliable."
“For example, by 2021, the sample error was over 50% for most of the timeslots reported by Nielsen for The Weather Channel. In other words, more often than not, Nielsen could not report data for the Weather Channel that had a minimum degree of reliability.”
A Nielsen representative declined comment to Television News Daily.