ErinMedia Files 2nd Suit Against Nielsen

Startup ratings company ErinMedia filed a lawsuit against ratings giant Nielsen Media Research Wednesday in Florida District Court in Tampa, alleging false advertising by Nielsen is undercutting its business.

It is the second recent lawsuit that ErinMedia, which is building a service that would track TV viewership from data on cable set-top boxes, has filed against Nielsen. In the earlier antitrust suit, ErinMedia alleges that Nielsen’s monopolistic practices are inhibiting ErinMedia from starting up business and signing clients.

In the latest legal action, ErinMedia is taking aim at a Nielsen advertisement in a trade magazine that says: “Thousands of shows … millions of different viewers … Nielsen counts them all.” ErinMedia asserts that Nielsen’s ratings are based on a disproportionately small group of participants and do not accurately reflect national viewing trends or habits.

The ad, the claim says, was used in interstate commerce in a false, misleading and deceptive claim. “In fact, Nielsen does not count millions of different viewers,” the suit says. The misinformation, ErinMedia says, is tainting and misleading its potential customers and is in violation of Florida laws, where both companies are headquartered.

ErinMedia is asking the court to award unspecified damages.

Nielsen has not seen the complaint and has no comment at this time.