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Nielsens San Diego Family affair

KSWB-TV San Diego could face some form of admonishment from Nielsen Media Research for direct-mail and on-air campaigns that targeted Nielsen families, encouraging them to watch the station and make note of what they were watching for ratings purposes.

Nielsen says the Tribune-owned station mailed out approximately 75,000 videotapes at the end of last month containing a flag on the outside for Nielsen families and station schedules, entreaties and thank-yous on the inside. Both actions violate Nielsen policies, the research company said. The tapes had long been out by the time of Nielsen's investigation, but the station did pull the on-air spots at Nielsen's request, although there are conflicting reports as to exactly when the spots ended. Regarding the tapes, without the names and addresses of the recipients, Nielsen cannot tell how many sample viewers were reached.

Nielsen could de-list the station for the period, but that would not spare competing stations whatever viewers were lost to them by the campaign. Nielsen said it is considering options and has until the end of the sweeps period this month to decide. Station management could not be reached for comment.