NEWS1 June 2009

Court date set for Nielsen and Sunbeam

Legal North America

US— Nielsen and Sunbeam Television will square up in court in December over claims that the ratings giant has an illegal monopoly.

Florida-based Sunbeam launched anti-trust proceedings against the firm in May, claiming that Nielsen had breached its contract with the broadcaster and was delivering “defective, wildly inaccurate ratings data” through its local people meter (LPM) devices.

In a case Nielsen dismissed as “utterly without merit”, Sunbeam accused the ratings firm of violating state anti-trust and unfair practice laws by tying customers to staggered, long-term contracts.

It also accused Nielsen of breaching the contract the two firms signed in 2007 by failing to provide reliable data and failing to exercise due care and good industry practices.

Nielsen has pledged to defend itself “vigorously”, and argues that its LPM ratings for the Miami region are more accurate than any previous system.

The two-week civil jury trial will begin in Miami on 21 December with Judge Paul Huck presiding.