Lots of broadcasters grumble about Nielsen‘s ratings methodology — which frequently relies on antiquated paper diaries — as well as the price increases it wants and its willingness to include homes that have broadband but not cable or satellite service. But Fox would have been the biggest challenger in recent memory to Nielsen’s status as the gold standard for ad deals if its TV station group had not agreed today to stick with the data provider. On the last day of their contract, the companies “have come to a mutually beneficial resolution to continue their longstanding relationship,” they said in a statement attributed to Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy and Nielsen’s Lynda Clarizio, President, U.S. Media. “Both companies are committed to more meaningful and accurate measurement in local markets. We look forward to a strong and productive relationship going forward.” The companies offered no information about terms.
Fox signaled its willingness to drop Nielsen this month when it announced what it called a long-term agreement Rentrak’s local TV ratings at its 28 stations in 18 markets. Abernethy said that the deal would “accelerate the long overdue progress toward an accurate digital measuring system in local TV, once based on a census, not estimates, and one that measures all screens.” Rentrak derives its ratings data from cable set top boxes, making the numbers more precise than Nielsen’s estimates.