Oklahoma City Fails Digital TV Ratings Test, First Nielsen Market To Be Excluded

Nielsen Friday said a major TV market has failed a self-imposed test measuring its readiness for the transition from analog to digital broadcast spectrum. In a notice to clients, Nielsen said Oklahoma City failed to pass its digital TV transition testing, and that data from the market's overnight ratings have been excluded from Nielsen's metered market overnight ratings reports for Jan. 29.

A Nielsen spokesperson confirmed that Oklahoma City is the first of Nielsen's 56-metered markets to fail the test, which measures weather a sufficient number of households in the market are capable of receiving digital TV signals.

A second metered market, Louisville, KY, was also excluded from the Jan. 29th overnight ratings but the Nielsen spokesperson said it was due adverse weather conditions that caused an insufficient number of households to be "in-tab" in the sample for the market.

"Louisville was excluded because of the weather. Oklahoma City was excluded because it failed the new test that we put in place in advance of the launch of digital transition," the Nielsen spokesperson said.

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Nielsen regularly tests to ensure that metered market ratings pass minimum thresholds of the number of households that are in-tab (actually tabulated in its final ratings after technically difficult households are excluded). It also conducts a second test to ensure that the households are distributed in a way that is geographically representative of the market.

The spokesperson said Nielsen has added a third test to ensure that metered markets are also passing minimum thresholds to ensure that enough households are capable of receiving digital TV signals to qualify for representative ratings.

"Under normal circumstances, [Oklahoma City] would have passed the first two screens, but it failed the third test, the digital TV test, and ratings from the market have been excluded from the overnight ratings," the spokesperson said, adding that Nielsen field representatives have been deployed to contact households in the market to determine why they were not capable of receiving digital TV broadcast signals.

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