Nielsen Tells Oprah to Remove Desperate Tweet to Boost Ratings. Oprah Apologizes.

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Another blow to the Big “O”.  After sending out what some are calling a Hail Mary tweet,  Oprah apologized.

The tweet stated simply,

Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if you have a Neilsen box

Oh My!!

It appeared harmless as she was trying to promote her new show “Oprah’s Next Chapter” on Sunday, despite the misspelling of “Nielsen”.

In fact the tweet wasn’t harmless at all.  It was a serious infraction of Nielsen’s policy.  Nielsen prides itself in insuring that it’s Nielsen box users are not influences by external coercing to watch programming.


In my opinion Oprah knew exactly what she was doing.  She’s been in the business way to long to know that you can’t ask Nielsen box owners to watch your show.

Nielsen reached out to OWN and the message was promptly removed on Monday.

“I removed the tweet at the request of Nielsen,” she said in a statement to The New York Times. “I intended no harm and apologize for the reference.”

By waiting until Monday the damage if any was already done; however Nielsen has already thought of that.  They will be marking the show with an asterisk, simply noting “possible biasing effect”.

A Nielsen spokesperson released a statement via email,

 “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,”

Oprah has approximately 9 million twitter followers so a tweet from Oprah is huge!  Even if a small percentage of that 9 million retweet her message then it could literally reach 20 or 30 million people.


The desperation came as Oprah’s show went up against the Grammy’s.  With Whitney Houston’s death, OWN didn’t stand a chance in hell of getting viewers.  Oprah knew that, and encouraged people to watch during the Grammy commercials,

“Commercial Grammy people..u can turn to OWN.”

Yikes!  How embarrassing.  It’s like seeing the champ up against the ropes.  I was expecting Oprah to bite an ear of next.  When one of her followers called he message desperate, Oprah replied with a smug,

‘desperate’ not ever a part of my vocab.’

Oh really?

Such attempts are rare, but are taken seriously by Nielsen, since its ratings are the foundation of the entire television industry, setting advertising rates and determining the success or failure of shows.

It’s been an uphill battle for Oprah.  One she’s not used to.  Her new show “Oprah’s Next Chapter” has been successful, reaching 900,000 viewers on average.  However her big bet on Rosie is a bust, at best bringing in a dismal 200,000 viewers.

So far the OWN has not matched the success of its predecessor Discovery Health.  I hope Oprah’s got some more tricks up her sleeve, she’s going to need them.

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