Would-Be Competitors Sue Nielsen
By Ken Kerschbaumer -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/16/2005 11:49:00 AM

ErinMedia and ReacTV, two companies looking to launch audience measurement services, have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Nielsen Media Research in U.S. District Court.

The suit is designed to end what the two companies say is Nielsen’s monopoly over TV ratings research. It calls for the voiding of Nielsen’s staggered, long-term contracts with TV networks and other customers.

Nielsen spokeswoman Karen Gyimesi says the company is surprised by the lawsuit and doesn’t feel it has any basis. “Our contracts allow for our clients to use other audience measurement systems,” she says. In a statement the company says the lawsuit is frivolous and unfounded. “We’re very confident this meritless lawsuit will fail,” she says.

Erin Media has a ratings service that uses viewing data gathered through digital cable set-top boxes, a technique they believe superior to the Nielsen measurement techniques.

“Nielsen’s methods largely rely on the self-reported viewing habits of a small sample of recruited and coached viewers,” said erinMedia Chairman and CEO and founder of ReacTV.

ErinMedia and ReacTV are two separate companies owned by Frank Maggio.