Cable Networks Won't Participate in Nielsen Commercial Ratings Plan

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Includes: DIS, GE, TWX, VIA
by: Jonathan Liss

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More Cable Networks Decline Commercial-Ratings System [Wall Street Journal]

Summary: Yesterday, several of the largest cable programing providers in the U.S. announced they would not participate in Nielsen Media Research's plan for measuring viewership of TV commercials. Among those opting out were Viacom's MTV Networks, Discovery Communications' Discovery Networks U.S., Time Warner's Turner cable-networks unit and Walt Disney's ESPN. The announcement comes on the heels of GE-owned NBC Universal's statement Monday that it too wouldn't take part in the plan to measure minutes of commercial time sold to national advertisers. The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau has recommended that its members not take part for now. The programing networks object to the plan based on claims that Nielsen's measuring system has trouble distinguishing switches taking place between national and local ads within the same commercial break, a trend which is especially prevalent on a cable channels. Others argue the cable networks refusal to participate will ultimately come back to hurt them, as advertisers will have no way to verify the breadth of audience their commercials are reaching.
Related links: Cable Stocks: Will The Rally Continue?Time Warner to Spin Off Cable UnitThreatened by Internet Video, Cable Providers Strive to CompeteTime Warner (NYSE:TWX) beats expectations; cable and publishing units report strong quarter • Nielsen Delays Commercial Ratings [MediaWeek]
Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Viacom (NYSE:VIA), Time Warner (TWX), Disney (NYSE:DIS), General Electric (NYSE:GE)

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