Rupe ends Nielsen tiff

News Corp., TV research company pact

NEW YORK –News Corp. signed a company-wide, multiyear deal with Nielsen Media Research, ending a two-year battle over the accuracy of TV ratings.

Deal signals the end of a two-year fight between News Corp. and Nielsen that erupted soon after the ratings service rolled out new technology called Personal PeopleMeters in 2004 to measure TV audiences in urban markets.

As part of the deal Nielsen agreed to spend $50 million on programs designed to make sure the ratings service accurately counts young people and minority groups.

After the introduction of People Meters, Fox Broadcasting sustained steep ratings drops for shows for some of its urban comedies, and the network argued Nielsen wasn’t accurately counting African-American and Hispanic families.

The network bankrolled a pressure group, Don’t Count Us Out, to pressure Nielsen and it briefly became a political issue, as pols voiced concern that networks keep producing shows for minority communities.

“Nielsen’s willingness to take concrete and ongoing steps to ensure that its measurement systems accurately count all viewers was critical to achieving this deal,” said News Corp. exec VP Gary Ginsberg.

The eight-year deal covers 49 News Corp.-owned networks and consolidates more than 150 individual agreements between the companies.

Companies covered under the deal include Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Channel, FX, Speed, National Geographic, Fox Sports Net, DirecTV and Twentieth Television.

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