WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the opening of Media Bureau Docket No. 22-239, the FCC is moving forward with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on updating its rules to reference the most up-to-date market information for determining a television station’s local market for cable and satellite carriage purposes.
You may now offer your thoughts and suggests to the Commission on what road it should take — one Nate Simington says may not be exclusive to Nielsen.
Until now, the Nielsen Station Index Directory has been used by the FCC to determine a television station’s local market for carriage purposes.
There’s just one problem. Nielsen recently phased out this report. As such, the Commission needs a new publication to refer to for determining market areas.
Hence, the Update NPRM, which was published July 28 in the Federal Register.
As such, comments must be submitted no later than August 29. Reply comments must be submitted no later than September 26.
With Nielsen’s decision to discontinue the publication, consideration of a “successor publication” — as stated in the law — is moving forward. For Simington, the FCC’s reliance on Nielsen should be “well-founded.”
Given the recent chatter about Nielsen‘s audience measurement weaknesses from such entities as the TVB and NBCUniversal — fueled by former longtime Nielsen executive Kelly Abcarian — and Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation issues, Simington stood alone in suggesting that the Commission’s use of Nielsen’s Local TV report should not be a lone replacement for the Nielsen Station Index Directory.
This is a key NPRM suggestion. For Simington, the Local TV Report is “far from the only data from Nielsen for which the FCC relies on.”
With the unaccredited status of Nielsen, Simington is unable to confidently tell the American public that it can rely on Nielsen as its only source. And, he wants a Notice of Inquiry into FCC’s reliance on Nielsen data as he approved the NPRM with the understanding that comments should bring to light alternative information sources.
This puts Comscore, perhaps, along with other consumer metrics source providers, on notice that they have an opportunity to break Nielsen’s exclusivity at the Commission, as written into law by Congress.