A little more than a month after Nielsen gave it great news, WIVB-TV (Channel 4) will be dropping the ratings service because of a companywide decision by its owner, Nexstar.
Channel 4 General Manager Dominic Mancuso has confirmed the station will be switching from Nielsen to a different ratings system called ComScore in 2019.
Nexstar had inherited Ch.4's use of Nielsen when it purchased the station from Media General.
The decision is a financial blow to Nielsen. According to industry sources, Channel 4 and sister station WNLO-TV (CW23) pay Nielsen about $500,000 a year for the service. Industry sources say ComScore is considerably less expensive than Nielsen.
The switch comes after Channel 4 news had a strong No. 1 finish over WGRZ-TV (Channel 2 news) during the November sweeps scored by Nielsen.
ComScore surveys about 300,000 households in Western New York through cable and satellite boxes, 750 times more homes than the 400 homes sampled here by Nielsen. In theory, that would make things more accurate.
However, the analytics company doesn’t measure households that don’t have cable or satellite and doesn’t provide demographic ratings as well as Nielsen.
WKBW-TV and the owner of WUTV (Fox 29) have added ComScore but continue with Nielsen.
Channel 2 doesn’t use ComScore but it should be cheering the news. According to sources, the service has been much kinder to the station lately than Nielsen.