CBS says negotiations with Nielsen have hit 'contractual impasse'

CBS claims Nielsen is charging too much for "services that don’t sufficiently address ongoing changes in the industry"

CBS said it has reached a "contractual impasse" with Nielsen, claiming that the ratings and data company is particularly challenged in local TV measurement.

CBS announced today (3 January) that it will look to make a deal with competitors, namely ComScore, if an agreement with Nielsen cannot be reached.

"Nielsen continues to use their market power to bundle disparate services and raise prices for services that don’t sufficiently address ongoing changes in the industry. As a result, we are currently at a contractual impasse, although we continue to be open to negotiating a fair deal that makes strategic and financial sense for CBS," the broadcaster shared in a company statement.

CBS and Nielsen have reportedly been in talks on a new contract for six months, but could not reach a new agreement before the deal expired on 31 December. The lapsed deal was reportedly worth an estimated $100m.

"The entire media industry is aware of the need for complete and accurate measurement across platforms. While Nielsen has made some strides in this area, progress has not been what we and many clients would like, and local TV measurement is particularly challenged," the CBS statement said.

A spokesperson from Nielsen told The Drum, "We have an open negotiation with CBS and expect to arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement."

Brian Wieser, a senior analyst at Pivotal Research Group, said that the negotiations are "highly unlikely to end with anything other than a renewal" in the coming weeks.

"As flawed as Nielsen’s data is known to be, it is still commonly viewed as better than alternatives for what it attempts to do in providing demographic metrics associated with the viewing of local and national TV," Wieser said. "So long as the advertisers who dominate national TV advertising prefer to measure the bulk of their ad inventory in terms of age and gender composition...those advertisers and the agencies they work with will retain their use of Nielsen data."

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