ABC Likely to Be Most Affected by Nielsen Screw-Up, Insiders Say

“Modern Family” and “Scandal” network was getting larger-than-normal boosts in adjusted Live + Same Day viewing numbers

Last Updated: October 10, 2014 @ 12:19 PM

Due to a “technical error” that has existed since early March, Nielsen will be reissuing ratings for all network TV fall broadcasts. The channel most likely to be affected is ABC, several network TV insiders told TheWrap.

While fast national ratings remained accurate, the final Live + Same Day numbers have been getting slightly erroneous boosts. ABC was the main benefactor of the faux lifts, and thus is the most likely network to see some shows come back down slightly.

That said, it doesn’t sound like any positioning will be changed in terms of overall standings. The insiders we spoke to see shows coming down one-tenth or maybe two-tenths of a ratings point tops, sometimes simply due to new rounding differences.

Also read: Nielsen Admits ‘Technical’ Screwup Has Impacted Network TV Ratings Since March

On the issue, all ABC would tell TheWrap is this:

“Our entire industry relies upon Nielsen for accuracy and veracity, and we hope that they can quickly resolve this issue. We’re confident that the momentum we’ve seen across the network so far this season will continue, including delivery of the No. 1 new drama and the No. 1 new comedy on television.”

Fox, CW and Univision had no comment. NBC, CBS and Telemundo did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment. Nielsen also didn’t respond to our request for comment.

Also read: NBC’s Research Prez Reveals New 52-Week Strategy: Original Fall Season Is a ‘Nielsen Artifact’

One insider admitted that the industry is not happy with the screw-up, given the many billions of dollars Nielsen hauls in for being the standard ratings currency in the television measurement landscape.

The person said that this admission may help galvanize Rentrak — Nielsen’s main competition — into figuring out the demographics aspect of their business and possibly providing an actual alternative to the ratings giant.

Nielsen first broke the news to the broadcast channels via a conference call on Friday morning.


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