A significant number of viewers who watched KFOR on digital television were not counted by Nielsen, their viewership incorrectly sent to a “digital viewing bucket,” according to Nielsen. Those potential ratings points were erroneously assigned to KFOR’s channel 4.1 multicast.
“This situation resulted in lost credit for all tuning to the digital channel,” Nielsen said in a statement, “and understated audience estimates for every program on station KFOR.”
The incorrect tallying goes back to 2005, but Nielsen said KFOR’s digital viewing “was not at measurable levels until 2007.”
KFOR president and general manager Jim Boyer said the ratings looked fishy when he came on board in 2007. “I know how ratings generally behave,” he added. “These were not behaving the way they were supposed to.”
Local TV chief operating officer Pam Taylor said Nielsen has been forthcoming about the error, but acknowledged that undercounted ratings at KFOR hampered the station’s advertising revenue substantially.
The situation was fixed as of Sept. 5, and KFOR insiders said household ratings jumped 30%-50% after the fix. “The recompiled numbers are substantial,” Taylor said.
Nielsen said no other Oklahoma City stations were affected by the error, and a spokesperson could not recall something similar happening in other parts of the country.