TW’s measuring up

Conglom extends deal for Nielsen TV data

NEW YORK — Time Warner has extended its contract with Nielsen Media Research through 2008 to provide audience estimates for its cable systems, Turner Broadcasting, the WB, HBO, Court TV and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

Agreement extends a seven-year deal inked in 1998 that was, at the time, the broadest of its kind between a ratings service and a media conglom.

Deal provides Time Warner with national and local TV audience estimates, including Local People Meter service for Time Warner Cable in New York and Los Angeles and for WTBS in Atlanta.

“We are committed to working with Nielsen to ensure television will always be the best measured medium,” said Jack Wakshlag, head of research for Turner Broadcasting.

A company that aspires to compete with Nielsen, Erinmedia, sued the ratings service in federal court last week, accusing it of “securing multiyear, staggered contracts” with media companies that prevent competition in the ratings market.

“If Nielsen would go to 12-month contracts, our suit would go away,” said Erinmedia CEO Frank Maggio.

A Nielsen rep said the company’s contracts are not exclusive, and its clients are free to buy ratings data from any other service.

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