Apparently they’ve got a live-wire tapping service over at News Corp. When yours truly worked for Fox Broadcasting, I was invited to a meeting held on the fifth floor of executive building 100 (Rupert’s West Coast base) on the 20th Century Fox lot in late 2006 and we were there to greet executives of The Nielsen Company, the outfit in charge of processing television ratings in the United States. News Corp., parent company of the Fox Networks Group, had just signed a landmark deal with Nielsen and the ink was still dry.
The deal was said to be one of Nielsen’s biggest to date. What intrigued me most was how News Corp., for many years earlier, had been a vocal critic of Nielsen Media Research, calling its methodologies and reporting processes inefficient and rife with errors. In its ire of Nielsen, News Corp. even financed a would-be competitor of the ratings company, but to not much avail as the upstart failed to gain ground and industry-wide acceptance.
For this reason, it struck me as rather interesting when Nielsen was suddenly awarded a lucrative eight-year contract from News Corp. to provide ratings for its Fox Network Group: Fox, Fox News Channel, FX, et al. What had changed and why did News Corp. do an about-face and suddenly decide to embrace Nielsen? Whatever the reason, the deal has paid off for them and quite handsomely, too.
In the vein of O’Reilly, could this be a factor as to the explosion in popularity of Fox News Channel? News Corp.’s deal with Nielsen is in effect through 2014 so here’s a hint to the execs at CNN: have Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner, parent company of CNN, make a sweetheart deal with Nielsen and maybe your ratings will improve. Heck, it can’t hurt. Just ask Faux News Channel.