CBS, Nielsen renew ratings deal after stalemate

The new deal settles an extended impasse, one which saw CBS publicly express its misgivings about Nielsen’s advances in audience measurement and ratings. (Sarah Ackerman/Flickr)

After a prolonged impasse, CBS and Nielsen have renewed their agreement covering national, digital and local audience measurement.

CBS Television Network, CBS Television Distribution, Showtime Networks, Smithsonian, Pop, CBS Sports Network and CBS' 27 owned-and-operated local television stations will continue to use Nielsen's Total Audience measurement services as part of the deal.

"CBS is a longstanding leader in world-class video content. We are thrilled to continue our long partnership with them as we innovate for the future," said Nielsen CEO David Kenny in a statement.


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"We are very pleased with this new agreement we were able to achieve with Nielsen," said Joe Ianniello, president and acting CEO for CBS, in a statement. "It meets our strategic goals, and will allow us to benefit from important advances in measurement as they are rolled out. CBS programming is perennially the most-watched content rated by Nielsen, and there is significant upside ahead as next-generation advertising continues to flourish."

RELATED: CBS lashes out at Nielsen amid contract renewal impasse

The new deal settles an extended impasse, one which saw CBS publicly express its misgivings about Nielsen’s advances in audience measurement and ratings.

“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,” CBS said. “Despite this backdrop, Nielsen continues to use their market power to bundle disparate services and raise prices for services that don’t sufficiently address ongoing changes in the industry.”

CBS added that it was willing to go with Nielsen competitor Comscore if it wasn’t able to reach a renewal agreement that made financial sense. But some people within the television industry argued that it was basically impossible for CBS to entirely ditch Nielsen.

Brian Wieser, senior analyst at Pivotal Research Group, said it is unlikely that any broadcast television station group could drop Nielsen entirely.

"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, as their ability to negotiate and capture market share from advertisers would be severely hampered if they do so," Wieser wrote in a research note.

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