A second look at Nielsen rule

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NEW YORK -- Nielsen Media Research said Thursday that it will consider whether to spike the new ratings rule that this week will allow NBC to add to its "Heroes" audience without reporting an hour in primetime.

When the change took effect Monday with the new TV season, some in the network business cried foul over the fact that NBC would be able to add the unduplicated audience from Saturday's exact replay of "Heroes" to the Monday ratings. The outcry wasn't so much about NBC taking advantage of the rule change but instead that the move would throw the Nielsen daily and weekly programming ratings into question and rate NBC this week on a less-than-22-hour primetime week.

A Nielsen spokesman said that the company had received a lot of feedback from its clients on the rule.

"We are reviewing those comments," the spokesman said.

Nielsen announced the change Tuesday, the day the ratings for the first night of the TV season were given. It said the change, which affects the way ratings are processed, would delay by more than a week the final ratings for "Heroes." The hit NBC drama, which had a single sponsor for its premiere Monday, would be repeated in the same format on Saturday night. That satisfied a new rule that Nielsen agreed to with its clients that would give a show credit for new audience but drop out the duplicates if the show was repeated in the same broadcast week with the same national commercial load.

As a result, "Heroes" went unreported in Monday night's national ratings. Nielsen said the ratings would be reported Tuesday with the national weekly ratings, but with the Saturday repeat of "Heroes" taken out of the mix.
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