Sunbeam Television

WSVN 7News

WSVN 7News MiamiWSVN parent company Sunbeam Television’s legal battle with television ratings monopolist Nielsen has ended.

Earlier this month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of Sunbeam’s monopolization claim against Nielsen Media Research. All three judges on the 11th Circuit Court agreed with the lower court’s ruling that Sunbeam Television lacks antitrust standing to pursue its claims against Nielsen.

The 11th Circuit employs a two-prong test to determine whether a plaintiff has an antitrust standing. First the plaintiff must establish that it has suffered an antitrust injury and then demonstrate that it is an efficient enforcer of antitrust law. According to the brief, The Court didn’t even bother with the first prong, it went straight to the second, examined whether Sunbeam Television is an “efficient enforcer” and found that unless Sunbeam can show a potential competitor was ready to supply a superior product but for Nielsen’s exclusionary conduct, it cannot bring antitrust claims.

Sunbeam Television filed its lawsuit against Nielsen after the ratings company released it’s LPM (Local People Meters) service in Miami and WSVN experienced a ratings decrease of 50% overnight causing the station to lose over $1,000,000 per month in advertising dollars because of the sudden disparity in viewers. Nielsen on its part insisted everything normal, and that its prior way of measuring ratings via diaries was also flawless.

The 11th Circuit agreed with Sunbeam Television on one thing, that Nielsen “[...] exercises monopoly power over the television audience measurement services industry, both nationally, for the United States as a whole, and for all 210 markets.”

Maybe Rentrak will gain traction, WPLG are already using their service.

WSVN 7News

wsvn.vlcsnap-2010-03-26-02h38m38s196There is a lengthy article from Sunday’s Miami Herald on how WSVN came to be what it is today, why and how going news heavy saved the station. Details most of you know and some of you do not, but the piece goes into more detail on the reaction to WSVN’s transformational “if it bleeds, it leads” format. And not just from the usual suspects like journalism professors and competitors, but also the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau which then warned WSVN’s crime-heavy news is scaring potential foreign visitors away and  at least 10 hotels blacked-out the station from their in-room TV services.


Couch potatoes rejoice, you’re going to get your helpings of American Idol and NFL on FOX. WSVN parent Sunbeam Television and DirecTV have reached an agreement.



With all the nations problems solved Senator John Kerry  turned his attention to the Sunbeam-DirecTV retransmission dispute and warned both parties to get it together and solve their dispute before the Superbowl. Kerry, Scott Brown and 10 other Mass. house reps sent the letter to both DirecTV and Sunbeam.

Senator Kerry followed with a second letter warning both companies that if 200,000 Mass. viewers of Boston NBC affiliate WHDH miss the superbowl he will support the proposed new powers for the FCC to get involved in retrans fee disputes.

The Boston Herald quotes Senator Kerry saying ” I will continue to work to urge the FCC to make sure that access to major live events (not) become a recurring tool for leverage in these negotiations,”.

Meanwhile in America…

copy of the letter after the jump