NEWS18 March 2008

AGB, ABS seek ‘amicable’ resolution to ratings row

Court proceedings over alleged bribery of Philippines TV panel suspended

PHILIPPINES— AGB Nielsen and broadcaster ABS-CBN have agreed to suspend all court proceedings as they attempt to reach an amicable settlement in a dispute over alleged TV ratings manipulation.

ABS-CBN took AGB Nielsen to court late last year seeking 63 million pesos (£765,000 ) in damages, claiming that a rival broadcaster had bribed AGB’s TV panel members to watch different channels, leading to “erroneous” ratings data.

In January, a judge threw out the suit saying ABS-CBN had not given AGB Nielsen enough time to investigate whether there were problems with its data and to resolve them.

ABS-CBN lodged an appeal against the decision, although that motion is now on hold while both sides attempt to resolve their disagreement outside the courts.

AGB Nielsen concluded an investigation and audit of its nationwide TV panel in January, a summary of which was supplied to Research by the agency.

The summary made no mention of whether any evidence was found to support the claims that panel homes had been bribed. However, the investigation did discover that 125 panel households out of a total of 1,933 had been exposed to the promotional activities of media companies, including ABS-CBN and its main rival GMA Network.

AGB Nielsen said 16 homes had been exposed to ABS-CBN’s promo efforts while 82 had been reached through GMA’s promo activities. The ratings company said all the contacted homes had been removed from the sample and replaced “whether or not there was an actual attempt to bribe panel home members”.

The agency also analysed the viewing behaviour of the panel homes that were exposed to the TV networks’ activities, comparing it to past viewing patterns. “The conclusion reached at the end of the review pointed to the fact that promo efforts did very little or had no impact at all to the overall viewing preference of the panel home and viewing levels in general,” said AGB Nielsen.

Author: Brian Tarran

Related links:

Philippines court throws out AGB Nielsen lawsuit