NETWORKS: CHANNEL SURFERS, UNITE!

CHANNEL SURFERS, UNITE!

O.K., it's "sweeps" time once again, when the networks cravenly compete for eyeballs with a mind-numbing abundance of mini-series and specials. The point is to boost the NIELSEN RATINGS of their affiliates during this quarterly four-week period, when local stations set advertising rates. It's a bit of a sham for advertisers, whose rates are partly determined by such stunt scheduling. And now they're doing something about it. On discussion at next month's meeting of Nielsen's Customer Alliance, an advisory group that includes advertisers and affiliate reps, is "extended measurement." One form of it could triple the annual 16 weeks of ratings...

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