CBS, Nielsen End Standoff With New Deal

The two companies had been at an impasse since the beginning of the year.
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CBS Corp. has reached a new deal to continue audience measurement services from Nielsen, ending an 11-day standoff over terms of the agreement.

CBS will resume using Nielsen's audience measurement for national and local TV audiences, as well as digital services. The deal encompasses "a range of services" and includes the CBS broadcast network, CBS Television Distribution, Showtime, Pop, Smithsonian, CBS Sports Network and 27 owned-and-operated local stations.

Terms weren't disclosed, but the stalemate — or "contractual impasse," as CBS termed it — reportedly involved some discussion of costs. CBS paid Nielsen a reported $100 million annually for access to the ratings provider's data and was looking for a better deal that involved more comprehensive measurement of digital audiences.

"We are very pleased with this new agreement we were able to achieve with Nielsen," said Joe Ianniello, president and acting CEO of CBS Corp. "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."

Added Nielsen CEO David Kenny, "CBS is a long-standing leader in world-class video content. We are thrilled to continue our long partnership with them as we innovate for the future."

The two companies' prior agreement expired Jan. 1. Two days later, CBS took its side of the negotiations public, saying Nielsen's efforts to measure viewership on nontraditional platforms as linear TV ratings decline "[have] not been what we, and many clients, would like." The company then said it would look for alternative ways to measure its audience.