FBN Ratings: Private Until Nielsen Resolves “Accuracy Issues”

By SteveK 

On April 15, Fox Business Network celebrated its six-month anniversary. A day after its October launch, an FBN spokesperson told TVNewser it would be about 6-9 months before FBN has ratings data to release publicly. Now, it appears the wait for ratings will be longer than six months.

TVNewser has learned that FBN will remain in Nielsen’s Access Stage, which prohibits public release of ratings information (although the network is receiving internal data). Once a network becomes a “full service client,” the ratings can be released publicly and Nielsen can use the numbers as part of daily reporting.

Nielsen spokesperson Gary Holmes wouldn’t comment specifically about the situation with FBN, but tells TVNewser, “That decision is a business decision made by the network. In the life of a network, a time comes when they decide that they want to share the ratings with advertisers. This process typically takes a year, year-and-a-half, sometimes two years. There’s no time frame. It’s really a business, strategic, decision.”


According to FBN, there may be a different reason. FBN Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales Paul Rittenberg tells TVNewser, “Given Nielsen’s recent accuracy issues, we feel it’s best to wait until they can provide some precise degree of illumination on the data they’ve presented to us, especially given the margin of error on several of their digital measurements. Our number one priority is accountability for advertisers.”

Nielsen has seen a couple recent glitches, resulting in inaccurate data in some cases.

Click continued for some more context regarding the leaked FBN ratings in January…

The New York Times and other outlets released FBN ratings data in January, revealing that approximately 6,000 viewers were watching during the day and 15,000 in prime time. Earlier today TVNewser reported on the two single-hour ratings wins for FBN over CNBC in the A25-54 demo.

It took until April 1997, six months after Fox News Channel launched, to top Headline News in a single hour during daytime, and took more than three years (March 2000) for FNC to beat HLN in total day in the demo. FNC became full service and released ratings after six months.

“When some of the other news networks started it took them a year or more to go public with the numbers,” Holmes said. Bloomberg TV is still an access client with Nielsen, and does not release ratings figures, and it launched in 1994.