Flinn Broadcasting Responds To Nielsen Suit, Files Counterclaims
February 12, 2016 at 6:38 AM (PT)
FLINN BROADCASTING CORP. has responded to NIELSEN AUDIO's lawsuit over nonpayment of license fees by filing an answer and counterclaims against the ratings and research firm.
The 12-page response denies owing money or being in breach of the contract, adds affirmative defenses that include being "fraudulently induced" to sign the deal by NIELSEN and being excused from having to pay due to a material breach by NIELSEN, and then, in the counterclaims, alleges that NIELSEN "knew, prior to contracting with FLINN that the MRC (MEDIA RATING COUNCIL) had reviewed NIELSEN’s use of the PPM methodology and withheld accreditation to NIELSEN in the majority of the PPM markets" and has yet to be accredited in MEMPHIS.
NIELSEN's methodology, the counterclaim states, undercounts minority and young listeners, and knew that its reduction of panel size would "predictably undercount listeners" in the market. FLINN alleges that NIELSEN "intentionally and fraudulently concealed the unreliability of the PPM methodology" to get stations to buy and use the numbers and was able to conceal it because it had no competition.
FLINN also raises the issue of the VOLTAIR and a competitor's use of the processor that, FLINN alleges, made the MEMPHIS ratings in 2015 "false, misleading and unreliable." As a result, FLINN claims that it is entitled to a pro rata credit for the "materially defective" ratings.
NIELSEN's suit alleges that FLINN did not pay fees totaling $136,872.88 due under a 2013 contract for ratings in the MEMPHIS market, plus late fees at 1.5% per month ($16.287.12 through MARCH 14th, 2016) and attorney's fees of $22,974. FLINN's counterclaims seek damages from breaches of 2010, 2012, and 2013 agreements of at least $297,816, $190,975, and $213,739, respectively, plus costs and attorney's fees.