Nielsen Says a Software Glitch Has Affected TV Ratings
Nielsen, the go-to source for television ratings, came clean Friday about a software glitch they say has caused an error in their data going back to March, including numbers for the start of the fall TV season and affecting ABC in particular.
The software bug has affected broadcast and syndicated ratings, while cable networks and local TV ratings were not affected, the company said.
Nielsen’s Global President Steve Hasker and Patricia McDonough, senior vice president of planning policy and analysis, admitted to the mistake Friday morning during a call with reporters.
So Nielsen has made ratings error benefiting ALL ABC programs since MARCH. Co. says-repeatedly-it is within “statistical tolerance.”
— Bill Carter (@wjcarter) October 10, 2014
The error will likely, they said, affect as much as 98% of programming by less than .05 of a ratings point, which McDonough said is well within the bounds of “statistical tolerance.”
The company would not comment on particular networks, but the New York Times reports ABC is said to have benefitted the most from the error, which was remedied Oct. 6.
It doesn’t sound like that Nielsen glitch shifted numbers too much, though, so don’t get overexcited, UTOPIA fans.
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) October 10, 2014
The oversight, the company said, was undetectable until the start of the fall season, at which time irregularities were detected.
All the ratings data released since Sept. 22 — the day that saw the series premieres of Fox’s Gotham, CBS’s Scorpion and ABC’s Forever, among others — will be reprocessed and reissued by Oct. 17, they said.
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