Viacom Questions Nielsen on Lower Nick Ratings
Drop in kids viewing hurts ad revenues
By Jon Lafayette -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/10/2011 10:02:03 AMMovies Boost Viacom Fourth-Quarter Earnings
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said his company is working with the Nielsen Co. to investigate a sudden mid-September drop in Nickelodeon's ratings that Dauman called "inexplicable" and an "anomaly."
Speaking on Viacom's fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts, Dauman says the double-digit drop in Nick's ratings just as toymakers and other marketers are ramping up for the holiday season helped keep the company's ad revenue under its double digit growth targets.
"This mid September, we have experienced an inexplicable drop in Nickelodeon's ratings, which are historically very predictable," he said. "We have had extensive discussions with Nielsen to determine the causes of this anomaly and we have been working side by side with them to understand and rectify the situation. The Media Rating Council, the industry's independent auditing organization at our joint invitation is also investigating this aberration in the kids' ratings."
Dauman said that in looking at Nick's ratings, they are looking at independent set-top box ratings, which show "meaningfully different viewership trends."
In a statement, Nielsen confirmed that it was working with Viacom and the MRC to assess Nickeodeons ratings. "To date, the review process confirms that our measurement methodology, operations and related reporting processes are working as expected," Nielsen said.
While the investigation is going on, Nickelodeon is working to get ratings up by airing 50 new episodes of returning and new series, including Kung Fu Panda, Legends of Awesomeness.
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