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Posts Tagged ‘Gary Holmes’

O’Reilly Segment Sheds Light on Months of FNC-Nielsen Disagreement

fnc_10-27.jpgExclusive: A segment on The O’Reilly Factor last Thursday opened a window into a battle between Fox News Channel and Nielsen, the company that provides audience measurement for all networks. At the heart of the matter, time-shifted audience ratings. Fox News and most other networks use Nielsen’s C3 method of measurement when selling advertising. C3 “measures how many viewers watch commercials during the live telecasts plus on digital video recorders in the following three days.”

But according to FNC SVP Joel Cheatwood, there are a number of concerns Fox News has had with the method for counting the DVR audience. “We have, for the past 18 months, just begged Nielsen for transparency in how they process their information,” Cheatwood tolds TVNewser today. “One of the most widespread complaints is just a total lack of transparency.”

Another complaint is the small sample size when it comes to calculating viewership. Nielsen spokesperson Gary Holmes tells TVNewser that 14,000 households make up the national sample for Nielsen. Because “25% of the population has DVR,” Holmes estimates that 25% of the Nielsen sample is DVR-capable as well, putting the figure at approximately 3,500 households. “3,500 is an adequate sample size,” says Holmes. “3,500 is not too small.”

Cheatwood disagrees. The 3,500 sample size equates to approximately 65-100 DVR households watching cable news on a given night, and as few as 8-10 households making up the time-shifted ratings, says Cheatwood. “The sample is so small it just defies any application of credibility,” says Cheatwood. “It was one piece of information that confirmed our greatest fears. It just doesn’t pass the test at all. First be transparent, secondly, please, so much rides on the information you put out there, please take the time to make it credible.”

The transparency issue goes both ways for Nielsen and FNC. Click continued to see both sides, more background on what led to O’Reilly’s Thursday segment and see the Factor segment…

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FBN Ratings Crack 100,000 Viewers

glick_10-3.jpgThe New York Times’ Brian Stelter and Jacques Steinberg reports on Fox Business Network’s ratings from Monday’s Wall St. collapse, putting the average at 81,000 from 1-10pmET.

TVNewser has obtained a more complete hourly breakdown of Monday, which shows FBN averaging 103,000 for America’s Nightly Scoreboard at 7pmET and 124,000 for the Dave Ramsey Show at 8pmET. An FBN special at 9pmET averaged 87,000 viewers and the other hours from 1-7pmET fell below the 81,000 average.

Monday represented the best ratings ever for CNBC during its Business Day (7amET-5pmET), averaging 726,000 during that time. The Times reports the CNBC average during the 1-10pmET hours as close to 900,000.

When Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post released figures he obtained in July, the averages came to about 8,000 during Business Day and 20,000 in prime time for FBN. FBN is currently seen in approximately 40 million homes, as opposed to more than 90 million for CNBC.

But how did the Times get the ratings? FBN is still not a full service client, which means the ratings are not released publicly. Nielsen spokesperson Gary Holmes tells TVNewser, “Any client can subscribe to Nielsen’s ratings. Once the ratings are over a certain minimum, any subscribing client can make those numbers available.”

Holmes confirmed that 81,000 would be enough to put FBN over the minimum, raising the question of which network leaked the numbers.

One point not mentioned in the New York Times story, and something that has been absent in several stories about CNBC, is the partnership the newspaper has with the network. The non-disclosure issue has been raised recently during the economic crisis.

In the weeks since the financial crisis has become a top story, CNBC and FBN have sparred through promos, newspaper ads and on the air.

What’s in a Name?: The AC360 Debate

cooper_7-7.JPGExclusive: TVNewser has learned that representatives from the three cable news networks, FNC, CNN, and MSNBC, took part in a meeting with Nielsen reps late last month to discuss concerns lobbed by Fox and MSNBC at CNN.

We hear the meeting was called to discuss CNN’s decision to title their 10pmET hour during election nights “Anderson Cooper 360,” thus upping the average for the program. On most political nights of this election year, FNC and MSNBC have branded their programming “special coverage” so it would not necessarily benefit their prime time programs as it does for CNN’s Cooper.

All three networks declined to comment directly on the meeting but one insider tells TVNewser it was, “a lively discussion,” with one exec “red-faced” during the proceedings.

Confirming the meeting took place, Nielsen spokesperson Gary Holmes tells TVNewser, “We did have a meeting of the Titling Committee and this was on the agenda,” adding, “As a matter of policy we don’t discuss client meetings. All I can say is that this matter is still under discussion.”

We hear Nielsen will have recommendations for the future in mid to late July, and CNN is planning to use the title “Anderson Cooper 360″ during the 10pmET hour throughout the conventions.

TVNewser spoke with AC360 EP David Doss about the issue. “It’s an absurd argument. It’s not as if the primaries are staged for CNN’s benefit. It’s the biggest news of the day,” he said. “Of course it counts.”