AGB Starts Cable-Rating Trial in Venezuela

Caracas, Venezuela -- Plans are afoot to launch a
cable-ratings system in Venezuela for the first time.

Media-research company AGB Panamericana de Venezuela
Medición S.A. is conducting tests of "PeopleMeters" in about 272 cable homes,
managing director Adolfo Pucheu said.

A commercial rollout is scheduled for July, he added.
However, meeting this deadline will depend on receiving the support of industry players
such as panregional pay TV networks and advertising agencies.

Pucheu added that U.S.-based networks require a minimum
PeopleMeter base of 250 homes to consider ratings valid. The application software utilized
by AGB is programmed to register when the number of sample homes viewing TV falls below
the level necessary to provide meaningful statistical analysis.

Making cable ratings available is expected to improve the
ability of Venezuela's cable operators to measure the popularity of pay TV networks.

And it comes at a very crucial time for the
500,000-subscriber industry. The prospect of increased system overbuilding here could
ignite fiercer rivalries among the country's top three MSOs: SuperCable, Intercable and
Cabletel. And selecting the best-performing channels will become all the more important as
the operators vie for the same viewers, Pucheu said.

"Channel loyalty is low," he added. "There's
the [subscriber] attitude of, 'If you don't put on something I like, I'm going somewhere

AGB currently provides ratings for Venezuela's four
broadcast channels. Its foray into cable would represent a first in the market.

Mexico and Argentina are the only Latin American countries
where cable-ratings information is currently available. Cable viewing in those countries
is measured by Brazil-based Ibope International, which owns a minority stake in AGB.

As Venezuela makes headway in cable ratings, many in the
industry are anxious to see ratings figures for Brazil, a market with 1.8 million cable

That number is smaller than some other Latin American
markets, but Brazil is considered to have significant growth potential because of the low
level of cable penetration and a cable-licensing process that is bringing new players into
the market.

Ibope is expected to have ratings figures available for
Brazil, as well as Chile, by the middle of next year.