FOX and Nielsen: Ratings War No More

By Shawn Paul Wood 

evmIn what would have been quite the change of scenery for a major ratings draw, FOX recently threatened to leave Nielsen to go to exclusively with Rentrak for its measurement needs. In what resembled a real-life episode of 24, this imbroglio went unsettled until the last minute.

In short, advertisers (and our fellow agencies) don’t have to worry about altering subscriptions or anything, FOX is staying put.

The story from MediaPost tells us that this tiff between the two sources almost escalated into something nasty. The deal was announced just as Fox’s previous contract was set to expire, averting what would have been one of the biggest defections of a major TV stations group in Nielsen’s recent history.


As is the case with most cantankerous conversations, terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, the rumor mill says that Fox was said to be pressing Nielsen hard on two major points in its contract renewal: the financial terms of the deal and its methodological concerns over the current and future state of local TV audience measurement.

So, to be clear, the issues here were A) money and B) how to make more money.

“Nielsen and Fox Television Stations Inc. have come to a mutually beneficial resolution to continue their longstanding relationship,” the companies said in a joint statement attributed to Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy and Nielsen President, U.S. Media, Lynda Clarizio. “Both companies are committed to more meaningful and accurate measurement in local markets. We look forward to a strong and productive relationship going forward.”

Like the star athlete who “wants to spend more time with his family”, media entities sometimes realize that they don’t miss their families quite so much after determining that the open market’s offer isn’t as sweet as they may have hoped.

As you were, advertisers.