NEWS20 December 2007

AGB Nielsen told to stop surveying ‘bribed’ Filipino panellists

Ratings firm says excluding 79 homes will cause ‘virtually no change’ in data

PHILIPPINES— A court has ordered AGB Nielsen to stop gathering TV ratings data from households that may have been bribed to watch particular channels.

The request for the temporary restraining order came from broadcaster ABS-CBN, which was approached by an informant who claimed to have been hired by a rival station to bribe AGB Nielsen’s panellists in the city of Bacolod, under the guise of conducting door-to-door promotions.

ABS-CBN filed a lawsuit for a total of 81 million pesos (£983,416 ) against AGB Nielsen after it refused to stop publishing ratings in light of the allegations. AGB Nielsen said its contract allowed it a “reasonable period” to look into data quality issues, and that it would continue releasing ratings until it found “hard evidence” that data was not reliable.

AGB Nielsen said today it had already made its own decision to exclude 79 homes that were contacted by broadcaster GMA, and that this would cause “virtually no change” in its overall ratings data.

GMA issued a statement yesterday categorically denying any involvement with the alleged manipulation of ratings, saying: “It is not GMA’s style to play dirty.” The firm said ABS-CBN “must be referring to a station other than GMA Network” and that the report from ABS-CBN’s informant “does not make sense”.

Author: Robert Bain

Related links:

Philippines broadcaster sues AGB Nielsen over ‘bribed’ panellists