News: Nielsen Ratings Melt Down?
The May sweeps period is one of the two most important to television stations and networks, along with November. Networks want to see immediately how well their prime-time shows do as they air with overnight tallies so they can make adjustments.
Locally, television stations (like WKYC-TV) set their advertising ratings based on the results.
The problem this week is stations aren't getting the results they paid for. Nielsen, the television ratings company, has been in a meltdown since the weekend when their servers for data collection apparently suffered some problems.
Overnight ratings haven't been provided to stations for third day in a row. The latest numbers that have been issued are Monday's. Today is Thursday.
Stations are fuming and with good reason. Nielsen has a virtual monopoly over television ratings. TiVo is the closest competitive ratings service which has tried, like other start ups, to come up with an alternative to Nielsen through the years.
It makes you really wonder how accurate their ratings are when problems like this occur.
Nielsen spokesman Gary Holmes tells Variety Magazine, "We wanted to make sure the data we were going to put out subsequently was correct, which caused further delay.
Holmes added, "The data itself is accurate. We recognize the inconvenience to our clients, and we're working as hard as we can to get the ratings out as soon as we can."
This meltdown is sure to stir great debate whether Nielsen's system works, especially their newly installed Local People Meters (LPMs) or whether it is time to find other sources of ratings information just in case this situation happens again.
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