Sinclair Turns To ComScore For All TV Ratings

In a letter to advertisers, EVP Steve Marks says the mega-station group will use comScore exclusively for audience measurement starting in 2018.

In an apparent setback for Nielsen, Sinclair Broadcast Group has informed its advertisers and agencies that it will be using comScore broadcast ratings “exclusively” beginning next year, according to a May 25 letter from the station group to its clients obtained by TVNewsCheck.

“We understand that there are choices in local broadcast measurement, and Sinclair will continue to work with our clients to ensure their buys meet expectations,” EVP and COO Steve Marks says in the brief letter.

An audience measurement upstart, comScore, which absorbed Rentrak, has been slowly cutting into Nielsen’s one-time monopoly on broadcast ratings.

In response to a request for comment, a Nielsen spokesperson issued a statement that suggests that Sinclair’s move to comScore is not as final as it may appear.

“Though we do not comment on contract negotiations publicly, Sinclair is a longtime and enduring client of Nielsen’s and we continue to work closely with them to meet and exceed business needs,” the statement says.

No immediate word from Sinclair and comScore.


Comments (8)

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Snead Hearn says:

June 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm

I am sure there is more to follow. Group owners have had a difficult time justifying the charges from Nielsen for the past 10+ years. Sinclair (Nexstar does not use Nielsen) is large enough to get the attention of other owners. Another long overdue change is about to happen.

    Khristian Lee says:

    June 8, 2017 at 3:13 pm


    Tom Hardin says:

    June 8, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Big companies have lots of power. But it works in Nielsen’s and Sinclair’s and Comcast’s and others favor. Is it time to break all the monopolies up? Bring all broadcasting back to the people?

Brad Dann says:

June 8, 2017 at 3:42 pm

;While Nielsen still has loyal stations in metered markets, it has zero in diary markets that it’s been promising to fix for years/decades with no improvement and in most cases continual deterioration of its sample. They are toast in the diary markets and it’s only a matter of time before contract renewal comes and they go.

Evan Ortynsky says:

June 8, 2017 at 4:17 pm

I agree FederualGuy… being in a diary market, Nielsen is worthless. Try and calculate numbers on a sample of 200-300 diaries… ratings are all over the place and hard to trust/believe in. Now that the cable and satellite set top box data is available, the numbers through ComScore/Rentrack should be much better and stable month to month… Nielsen is just starting to gather that data… Just wish there was a real way to score the OTA crowd, I think the numbers 40-80 year olds that have money, but don’t want to pay for cable or satellite, are watching a lot of OTA TV…we need to count them. ATSC 3.0 could be the solution if the TV/Set top Tuner phones anonymously phones home of the channel being watched OTA.


June 8, 2017 at 4:58 pm

When ATSC 3.0 and it’s IP protocol is rolled out, won’t we be able to track IP addresses, the same way we track our websites unique visitors and page views? If so, we’ll get specifics on who’s tuning into our signals, how long they watched, if they clicked into websites from commercials they saw on us, you name it.

Teri Green says:

June 9, 2017 at 11:21 am

Get rid of the outdated and ridiculous Nielsen Markets for starters.

Geoffrey Miller says:

June 10, 2017 at 10:09 am

Medium and small markets that were so dramatically under sampled with diaries now will have to depend on national sampling in their measurement. Can’t imagine why any medium and small market would stick with Nielsen.

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