GMA 7 & ABS-CBN on AGB Nielsen Ratings Controversy

GMA 7 says:

• However, the affidavit in court submitted by Maya Reforma of AGB Nielsen belied such accusation against GMA Network. Reforma states: “There is no evidence that shows any significant impact on NUTAM data as a result of the activities purportedly launched by GMA Network.”

• GMA Network strongly denies the baseless accusation alleged by an ABS-CBN informant. Apart from being improbable—the informant’s claims as bandied about by ABS-CBN are also not logical.

• GMA Network’s ratings in the provinces—particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao—have not had any significant improvement since July of 2007 when it started to subscribe to the ratings of AGB. If there were any involvement in the alleged tampering of panel homes in the area by GMA Network, then its ratings there should have experienced significant increases.

• GMA does not conduct manipulative promo efforts anywhere in the country. What it does is conduct legitimate field promo activities that are not deliberately directed AT PANEL HOMES but at the general television population of a certain locality. It is not GMA’s style to play dirty.

• Also, for more than four years now, GMA Network has been complaining to AGB about the very big, highly illogical and unexplainable disparity between the cable and non-cable ratings of GMA’s programs. ABS-CBN’s programs do not exhibit such disparity.

• It is only in the Philippines that the ratings of programs on non-cable or free TV households exhibit a very different behavior from the cable households. Coincidentally, the Philippines is also the only country in the world where a competing free-to-air TV station also operates or controls the dominant cable company. The owners of ABS-CBN directly or indirectly operate the country’s largest cable company.

• GMA Network has been sending letters to AGB long before ABS-CBN’s complaint and these letters show how much the Network wants to find out if there are indeed irregularities in the ratings data gathering process. GMA cited that ABS-CBN—through the dominant cable operator—can gain undue advantage because cable personnel, in the course of their work, can come across which homes AGB Nielsen has placed its meters.

• GMA is determined to get at the bottom of this allegation. GMA reserves the right to take such action as may be warranted, to protect its interests and reputation.

ABS-CBN says:

• We stand by our report in DZMM. Maya Reforma, in her interview with DZMM’s Junrie Hidalgo, identified GMA-7 as behind certain activities that resulted in exposing the affected panel homes.

• We welcome the decision of the court ordering AGB Nielsen Media Research Philippines to stop data gathering and reporting TV ratings surveys in the next 20 days.

• While we are glad that the court has affirmed our discovery of a systematic and organized attempt to cheat in the ratings, it pains us to disclose that more and more panel households have confirmed the claims of our informant that they have been approached to change their viewing habits in exchange for money and groceries.

• There is a need for AGB Nielsen to check the accuracy of its TV ratings by replacing the compromised panel homes with new ones. TV ratings are the foundation of the TV industry and used by media organizations and advertisers in making important business decisions.

• It is therefore important for media organizations, advertisers, and most importantly, the viewing public to know the truth. We demand explanations and not blanket denials, legal threats or other means to muddle or skirt the issue.

• What we want is simple. We want a TV ratings system that will accurately capture the preferences of the Filipino people because as a network that values honesty and integrity, we compete on the basis of quality programming and not by compromising the system.

• In the absence of TV ratings in the next few weeks, the public can expect that ABS-CBN will continue to produce the best programs and be of service to the Filipino public.

The Freeman

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