Viacom to Nielsen:Why the LowerNick Ratings?

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said the
media company is working with the Nielsen Co. to
investigate a sudden mid-September drop in Nickelodeon’s
ratings that Dauman called “inexplicable”
and an “anomaly.”

Speaking on Viacom’s fourth-quarter earnings call
with analysts, Dauman says the double-digit drop in
Nick’s ratings just as toymakers and other marketers
are ramping up
for the holiday
season helped
keep the company’s
ad revenue
under its doubledigit
growth targets.

“This mid-September,
we have
an inexplicable
drop in Nickelodeon’s
which are historically very
predictable,” he
said. “We have
had extensive
discussions with
Nielsen to determine
the causes
of this anomaly
and we have been working side by side with them to
understand and rectify the situation. The Media Rating
Council, the industry’s independent auditing organization,
at our joint invitation, is also investigating
this aberration in the kids’ ratings.”

Dauman said that in looking at Nick’s ratings, they
are looking at independent set-top box ratings, which
show “meaningfully different viewership trends.”

In a statement, Nielsen confirmed that it was working
with Viacom and the MRC to assess Nickeodeon’s

Jon Lafayette is business editor of

Broadcasting & Cable.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.