BYRON ALLEN’S ALLEN MEDIA GROUP FILES MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR LAWSUIT AGAINST NIELSEN FOR FRAUD AND CONCEALMENT

Lawsuit Alleges Media Companies Have Suffered Billions of Dollars in Damages

LOS ANGELES, March 162022 /PRNewswire/ — Byron Allen’s media companies Weather Group, LLC (“Weather Group“) along with Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc.. (ESN) and CF Entertainment, Inc. (“Entertainment Studios“) have filed suit against The Nielsen Company (US), LLC (“Nielsen“) seeking billions of dollars in damages for fraudulent misrepresentation and fraud by concealment.

Chairman and CEO Byron Allen founded founded Allen Media Group/Entertainment Studios in 1993. Headquartered in Los Angelesit has offices in new York, Chicago, Atlantaand Charleston, SC. Allen Media Group owns 27 ABCNBCCBSFOX network affiliate broadcast television stations in 21 US markets and twelve 24-hour HD television networks serving nearly 220 million subscribers: THE WEATHER CHANNEL, PETS.TV, COMEDY.TV, RECIPE.TV, CARS.TV, ES.TV, MYDESTINATION.TV, JUSTICE CENTRAL.TV, THEGRIO.TV, THIS TV, LOCAL NOW TVand PATTERN. Allen Media Group will add its thirteenth network, THE WEATHER CHANNEL IN SPANISH in 2022. Allen Media Group also owns the freeAVOD streaming services THE GRIO, HBCU GO, SPORTS.TV and LOCAL NOW. Allen Media Group also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for more than 68 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations. With a library of over 5,000 hours of owned content across multiple genres, Allen Media Group provides video content to broadcast television stations, cable television networks, mobile devices, and multimedia digital platforms worldwide.

Nielsen is a global data company that provides audience measurement services for the television industry, among other businesses. Its ratings have been called the “currency” for what advertisers will pay for television time. For decades, Nielsen measured television audience viewership through its “panel system.” Nielsen recruits households (so-called “Nielsen families”) to serve on a research panel, and provides them with hardware designed to track the families’ television viewership. The panel system was introduced over 60 years ago when television was consumed over the air by way of a few early television channels. The panel consists of approximately 40,000 households in a country of over 330 million people, less than 1% of television viewers. Per the lawsuit, there’s been tremendous fragmentation in the industry and proliferation of channels, rendering the Nielsen panel ratings system antiquated, highly unreliable and fundamentally flawed.

Also, per the lawsuit, Nielsen told Allen’s companies that its panel system could reliably rate ESN even though the networks had limited distribution at the time. The lawsuit alleviates that Nielsen knew, but failed to disclose, that the panel system was unreliable across all networks, and that the system was totally unreliable for networks like the ESN. The lawsuit further alleviates that Nielsen concealed these facts and thereby caused Entertainment Studios and the Weather Group to pay millions in fees. The lawsuit identifies several other networks who similarly received fundamentally unreliable services from Nielsen.

Recently, the Nielsen panel system has come under scrutiny for how poorly the system performed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Per the lawsuit, Kelly Abcarian of NBC/Universalwho worked at Nielsen for 16 years and left as its General Manager and Head of Product Advanced Video Advertising, publicly acknowledged that the industry can no longer rely on the Nielsen outdated measurement systems. Industry groups, such as the Video Advertising Bureau (“GVA“), have said that Nielsen underreported viewership across all networks, costing the industry billions of dollars in losses. The entity charged with regulating and accrediting Nielsentea Media Rights Council (“MRC“), released findings showing the degree to which Nielsen underreported viewership during the pandemic. Recently, during an audit by the MRC, Nielsen unilaterally declared a “hiatus” from MRC certification. In other words, Nielsen told its regulator that it was no longer prepared to face regulatory scrutiny.

Per founder, owner and CEO Byron Allen: “The industry has suffered billions of dollars in losses, and we can no longer afford these damages. Nielsen needs to quickly address these issues. If not, I highly expect that Nielsen will soon face a $10 trillion-plus class-action lawsuit.”

The Plaintiffs’ counsel is Skip Millera partner in Miller BarondessLLP in Los Angeles. Per Miller: “This case goes to the heart of the Nielsen television ratings system. It’s going to be up to a judge and jury to determine the system’s viability, and I look forward to our day in court.”

About Allen Media Group / Entertainment Studios
Chairman and CEO Byron Allen founded founded Allen Media Group/Entertainment Studios in 1993. Headquartered in Los Angelesit has offices in new York, Chicago, Atlantaand Charleston, SC. Allen Media Group owns 27 ABC-NBC-CBS-FOX network affiliate broadcast television stations in 21 US markets and twelve 24-hour HD television networks serving nearly 220 million subscribers: THE WEATHER CHANNEL, PETS.TV, COMEDY.TV, RECIPE.TV, CARS.TV, ES.TV, MYDESTINATION.TV, JUSTICE CENTRAL.TV, THEGRIO.TV, THIS TV, LOCAL NOW TVand PATTERN. Allen Media Group will add its thirteenth network, THE WEATHER CHANNEL IN SPANISH in 2022. Allen Media Group also owns THE GRIO, HBCUGO, SPORTS.TV and LOCAL NOWthe freeAVOD streaming service powered by THE WEATHER CHANNEL and content partners, which delivers real-time, hyper-local news, weather, traffic, sports, and lifestyle information. Allen Media Group also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for 68 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations. Allen Media Group International Television continues to extend its corporate branding and content around the globe. It currently has active license agreements and programming in South AfricaTea United Arab Emirates, AustraliaTea Bahamian, Canada and New Zealand. With a library of over 5,000 hours of owned content across multiple genres, Allen Media Group provides video content to broadcast television stations, cable television networks, mobile devices, and multimedia digital. Our mission is to provide excellent programming to our viewers, online users, and Fortune 500 advertising partners.

Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures is a full-service, theatrical motion picture distribution company specializing in wide release commercial content. ESMP released 2017’s highest-grossing independent movie, the shark thriller 47 METERS DOWNwhich grossed over $44.3 million. In 2018, ESMP also released the critically-acclaimed and commercially successful Western HOSTILESthe historic mystery-thriller CHAPPAQUIDDICK and the sequel to 47 METERS DOWN, 47 METERS DOWN: UNAGED. The digital distribution unit of Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, Freestyle Digital Media, is a premiere multi-platform distributor with direct partnerships across all major cable, digital and streaming platforms. Capitalizing on a robust infrastructure, proven track record and a veteran sales team, Freestyle Digital Media is a true home for independent films.

In 2016, Allen Media Group purchased The Grioa highly-rated digital video-centric news community platform devoted to providing African-Americans with compelling stories and perspectives currently underrepresented in existing national news outlets. The Grio features aggregated and original video packages, news articles and opinion pieces on topics that include breaking news, politics, health, business and entertainment. Originally launched in 2009, the platform was then purchased by NBC News in 2010. The digital platform remains focused on curating exciting digital content and currently has more than 100 million annual visitors.

For more information, visit:
www.entertainmentstudios.com

SOURCEAllen Media Group

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