Byron Allen sues Nielsen, claiming it misrepresented its ratings service

By Stehen Battaglio

Media mogul Byron Allen is suing Nielsen, claiming the ratings company was not forthcoming about the reliability of its audience measurement data for smaller TV networks.

The suit filed Wednesday in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., said Nielsen committed fraud when it agreed to provide ratings to Allen’s Entertainment Studio Networks, a group of seven niche TV channels that have limited distribution on cable and satellite systems.

Audience levels for smaller networks are harder to measure and are more likely to be subject to errors.

Allen’s suit lands at a time when New York-based Nielsen has been under assault from its dissatisfied clients who use Nielsen ratings data to set advertising rates. Some media companies, such as NBCUniversal, have begun to use alternative services for audience measurement.

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