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Viacom inks deals with Nielsen

Viacom Inc. and Nielsen Media Research have signed a series of new contracts
covering ratings services for the company’s broadcast and cable networks,
syndication services and 35 owned-and-operated TV stations.

Collectively, sources said, the value of the agreements in worth several-hundred-million dollars.

The TV contract commits the 15 Viacom stations in the top 10 markets to
"Local People Meter" service as Nielsen rolls it out.

The company’s two Boston stations, WBZ and WSBK, have been without ratings
since Nielsen introduced LPMs there 15 months ago. The new deal
puts them back in the Nielsen data flow effective immediately.

With the station deal, Nielsen now has top-10 LPM commitments
from three of the "Big Four" network-station groups, the other two being NBC and
ABC, with Fox being the lone holdout.

Nielsen launched its LPM service in the Boston market.

Los Angeles will be the second market, with installation there scheduled for
March 2004, followed quickly by New York in April 2004.

LPM service will roll out to two additional markets later next year --
Chicago in June and San Francisco in October.

Most of the others will be phased in in 2005.

Ninth-ranked Atlanta will be added in 2006, which will complete the top-10

Under the network contracts, Viacom has committed to supporting the expansion
of Nielsen’s national "People Meter" sample from 5,000 to 10,000 homes starting in

The company has also committed to digitally encoding all programs so that
they can be identified by Nielsen’s meter for the digital age -- the new
active/passive meter, also set to begin rollout in 2004.