Oprah's Tweet runs afoul of the Nielsen ratings system

There are somewhere around 25,000 households in the United States with "Nielsen Boxes." Their watching habits make or break television shows and networks. The ratings set advertising rates, and determine overall success or failure. Low Nielsen ratings = canceled shows.

So, it is no wonder that Oprah Winfrey wants those Nielsen boxes tuned in to her new network--OWN.

And, last Sunday night she turned to Twitter to broadcast her plea...  “Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Neilsen (sic) box,” she wrote on Twitter just as a new episode of her interview show, “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” began.

What she may not have known was that it is a serious violation of Nielsen policy to specifically and deliberately attempt to sway the watching habits of those 25,000 households.

Oprah has since removed the Twitter post at the ratings company’s request. “I intended no harm and apologize for the reference,” she said in a statement.

For Nielsen's part, they are giving OWN’s ratings at the time of day her message was sent a warning (an asterisk), indicating a “possible biasing effect,” to the rating.

“It is Nielsen’s policy to note attempts to single out panel members to either change their viewing habits or otherwise influence or affect their reporting,” the spokesman, Matt Anchin, is quoted in The New York Times.

Personally, we think Nielsen was just ticked off that Oprah misspelled their name in the Tweet <grin>

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