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Sunday, Jul 14, 2024
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Media—KSWB is out of the Nielsen book due to improper promotions

Although there’s already an answer as to how KSWB-TV will be penalized for questionable marketing tactics during the November sweeps, the real response will play out in upcoming weeks.

According to a release from Nielsen Media Research, KSWB directly addressed Nielsen homes in on-air promotions and an insert and label on a promotional videotape sent to approximately 75,000 households before and during November. In both, the station asked them, to “please write down KSWB 5/69 in your Nielsen diary.”

According to Nielsen, KSWB stopped airing the on-air promotion during the early part of November sweeps.

The station’s actions “were designed to influence or change the viewing habits” of the Nielsen sample in the San Diego market, according to a statement from Nielsen.

As a result, KSWB was delisted from Nielsen’s upcoming ratings book, which looks at demographic information.

However, Nielsen decided to make the station’s ratings available to KSWB and the market a week after the original book becomes available Dec. 26 , and KSWB will be allowed to sell from their numbers. However, KSWB sales representatives will have to send out the station’s ratings to buyers separately.

Nielsen’s decision has upset many stations in the local industry, several of whom sent the company letters voicing their frustration. They say KSWB should have been stripped of the right to use the ratings for sales or promotions.

‘A Wrist Slap’

“A wrist slap” is how KNSD’s Phyllis Schwartz sees Nielsen’s approach to KSWB’s penalty.

“They’ve been given another avenue to be able to sell that rating book,” said Schwartz, the vice president and general manager of the local NBC affiliate. “We think that it does not discourage any station here or in the country from not playing by the rules.”

Mike McKinnon, general manager and owner of KUSI-TV, was also upset. KSWB’s incident also undermines the ratings, which are already widely questioned for their accuracy, he said.

“Nobody believes them, but it’s the only tool we have,” he said. “To have somebody totally poison the waters, so to speak, totally poison the integrity of these ratings, I think is bad.”

It could lessen the value of KSWB’s airtime, he said.

“I think KSWB’s only choice is to lower their rates so much that anybody will buy them,” he said. “It’s got to be so cheap that you can’t afford not to buy them.”

Station Not Disturbed

Lis & #233; Markham, KSWB’s vice president and general manager, said it’s “business as usual” at her station.

The timing of her ratings availability isn’t a problem, she said.

“Generally, buyers are on vacation at that point, anyway. They don’t come back and start using that until the first of the year, so it’s really no disadvantage for us at all,” she said.

Although the station disagreed with Nielsen, it cooperated, she said. Of the tapes, Markham said, “We won’t be doing that again, but certainly, we will continue to aggressively market the station.”

Some of the station’s actions had been done in other markets, she said. Of Nielsen, she said, “I think they just decided to get tougher about it and to put their foot down and not allow it anymore.”

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