NEWS26 March 2010

Nielsen denies Sunbeam allegations and renews call for dismissal

Legal North America

US— Nielsen has filed an official response to the anti-trust lawsuit brought against it by Miami broadcaster Sunbeam Television, denying all allegations and calling again for the court to dismiss the case.

Sunbeam lodged its second amended complaint against Nielsen earlier this month, claiming that the introduction of the firm’s local people meter (LPM) technology as the TV measurement tool for the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market has harmed its viewing figures, costing it more than $1m a month in lost advertising revenue.

The broadcaster alleges that Nielsen has abused its monopoly position in the Florida TV market and ties customers to long-term contracts that prevent other ratings companies entering the business.

Nielsen denies all the claims made by Sunbeam. The ratings firm says that all of the actions that have been challenged by Sunbeam were “lawful, justified and pro-competitive, constitute bona fide business competition and were carried out in furtherance of Nielsen’s legitimate business interest”.

The agency went on to allege that Sunbeam has not suffered an antitrust injury, that the terms of its contract with the broadcaster were met and that any injuries that have been sustained by Sunbeam are due to third parties.

The legal battle between the two started in May 2009.