NEWS22 January 2010

Round three under way in Sunbeam vs Nielsen TV ratings dispute

Legal North America

US— Sunbeam Television has filed a second amended anti-trust complaint against Nielsen, following the part-dismissal of its previous complaint earlier this month.

The broadcaster’s case centres on the allegation that the introduction of Nielsen’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 each month in lost advertising revenue.

Sunbeam claims Nielsen used its position as a “monopoly” to force LPMs on the market, despite objections from TV companies.

The ratings giant has strongly denied the charges since the original lawsuit was filed in May 2009, saying at the time that the case was “utterly without merit”. Sunbeam’s first complaint was dismissed, amended and re-filed in September.

Nielsen has been given a deadline of 8 February to respond to the most recent complaint.

  • In other news: the managing director of AGB Nielsen Turkey, Craig Johnson, appeared in court earlier this week to plead not guilty to claims brought by state broadcaster TRT that its business had been financially harmed by an alleged leak of information about TV ratings panel members. Speaking after the hearing, Johnson said TRT was yet to produce any documents or evidence to support the allegations. He said his co-accused, the president and auditor of TIAK, the joint industry committee for TV audience measurement, also pleaded not guilty. The next court date has been set for 23 February.