Sunbeam Nielsen Suit to Head to Court

Sunbeam Television’s antitrust claims against Nielsen will get their day in Court. The U.S. District Court for the District of Florida Friday (March 5) denied Nielsen’s third attempt to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Sunbeam, owner of WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami.

In its filing, Sunbeam claims that Nielsen’s rollout of its local people meter service has produced inaccurate ratings and under represents segments of Miami’s diverse population. The broadcaster further argues that Nielsen knew its LPM service in Miami had problems.

“We are very pleased with the Court’s decision. We feel this is an important case not only for WSVN, but also for those members of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale community whose television viewing is not accurately reflected in Nielsen’s television ratings for South Florida, as well as for other television stations throughout the country,” said Ed Ansin, president of WSVN.

WSVN said that Nielsen’s inaccurate ratings have cost the station $1 million per month in ad revenue.

“The judge in this case has repeatedly expressed his concern as to the merits of Sunbeam’s claims. We look forward to proving that Sunbeam’s claims, are, in fact, completely without merit,” Nielsen said in a statement.

The Nielsen LPM service in Miami, launched Oct. 2008, does not have Media Rating Council accreditation. Of Nielsen’s 25 LPM, 10 have MRC accreditation.

No LPM service launched since June 2006 has earned MRC accreditation.