CBS Reaches Deal with Nielsen, Ending Impasse Over Ratings Measurement

CBS Corporation, CBS
CBS Corporation

CBS Corporation and the Nielsen Company have come to terms over a new contract, the companies announced Friday. The agreement puts an end to an impasse that began at the start of the new year after their previous deal expired at the end of 2018.

The Nielsen Company

While terms of the new contract were not disclosed, CBS’ access to Nielsen national, digital and local audience measurement will be restored, effective immediately. The deal allows for the CBS Television Network, CBS Television Distribution, Showtime Networks, Smithsonian, Pop, CBS Sports Network and the 27 CBS Owned local television stations to continue using Nielsen’s Total Audience measurement services.

“CBS is a longstanding leader in world-class video content. We are thrilled to continue our long partnership with them as we innovate for the future,” said David Kenny, Chief Executive Officer, Nielsen.

“We are very pleased with this new agreement we were able to achieve with Nielsen,” said Joe Ianniello, President and Acting CEO, CBS Corporation. “It meets our strategic goals, and will allow us to benefit from important advances in measurement as they are rolled out. CBS programming is perennially the most-watched content rated by Nielsen, and there is significant upside ahead as next-generation advertising continues to flourish.”

During the nearly two-week spat, CBS accused Nielsen of inaccuracies in its reporting, citing its inability to effectively track local TV measurement and using its market power to bundle services its customers don’t need while also raising prices for services that the media company believes doesn’t address changes in the industry. According to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg, Nielsen countered CBS’ argument, claiming the company was more relevant than ever. “The Nielsen of today — after five years of hard, thoughtful work — is not the slow, plodding company that CBS would like to portray us to be,” said Kenny in his memo.

Despite the dispute, the companies remained in negotiation over a new deal that would make financial sense for both sides. The previous deal had Nielsen receiving over $120 million annually from CBS.