CBS Reaches Agreement With Nielsen for Ratings

Renewal includes national, digital, local measurement
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After an impasse that lasted nearly two weeks, CBS Corp. and Nielsen have reached a new agreement.

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Under the new deal, Nielsen will provide national, digital and local audience measurement for CBS’s broadcast networks, local stations, cable networks and syndicated programs.

“We are very pleased with this new agreement we were able to achieve with Nielsen,” said Joe Ianniello, president and acting CEO, CBS Corporation. “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: Google Gives Nielsen a Cross-Platform Boost

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Financial terms were not disclosed.

CBS had indicated that it was looking to pay less than Nielsen was seeking for the new contract, which is estimated to be worth more than $100 million.

“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.

Related: No Nielsen? Here’s How Networks Can Use Other Measurement Tools

CBS’s decision to let its contract expire at the end of the year also opened questions about how strongly media companies would challenge Nielsen’s ability to measure their audiences as consumers watch content on more devices and platforms.

With fewer viewers being counted on traditional platforms, networks need all of the viewing, whether online or over-the-top to be counted in order to monetize them by selling them to advertisers.

Nielsen faced competitors, including Comscore, which largely rely on either set-top box data or data from smart TV sets to determine what people are watching and how many people tune in. While Nielsen also employs set-top box data, it relies heavily on its panel to ensure that its data isn’t biased.

In the last few weeks, Comscore has been winning business from station groups including Nexstar and Gray Television.

Nielsen is also under pressure from shareholders to boost its earnings. The company is conducting a strategic review that could result in some or all of the company’s businesses being sold.

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