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Nielsen Delays New Ratings Amidst Cable Protest

TV ratings arbiter Nielsen Media has indefinitely delayed the planned release of new systems measuring viewership of TV commercials. The move follows the protest of cable networks who say that Nielsen's new system doesn’t properly track cable commercials. Nielsen had already pushed the launch of the system back from November to December, but doesn’t now specify when the new system will come out.

The snag is that Nielsen’s system cannot smoothly determine precisely when a cable network is airing a commercial and when it’s airing a program.Since the audience for commercials is lower than that of a movie or baseball game, mistakes tend to lower cable programmings average audience. Broadcast networks don’t have a problem because they handle commercials slightly differently. Nielsen says it is upgrading equipment to track commercials more precisely, but that upgrade won’t be finished until next spring.