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The fledgling Pax TV network will be counted right along with the big boys by Nielsen Media Research.

If its goal of 70% penetration of all U.S. households is met-either through over-the-air broadcast or via cable carriage-that would put Pax TV right at the minimum needed to be a network in Nielsen's eyes. It would be included in ratings reports along with ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, the WB and UPN.

As a result, Pax TV ratings will be reported as a percentage of the total number of U.S. TV households, which itself will jump to 99.4 million as of today, meaning a 1 rating represents 994,000 households.

That compares with cable networks, which generally count their ratings as a function of their own universe: A cable network reaching 45 million homes considers a 1 rating an audience of 45,000 viewers.

Adding up existing Paxson-owned stations, network affiliates and construction permits, Pax TV has commitments to be broadcast on more than 88 stations in markets representing more than 74 million U.S. TV households, with additional coverage coming through carriage agreements with cable operators.

However, with a lineup of stations with relatively weak signals combined with construction permits, the Pax TV signal won't necessarily reach all 74 million households on day one.

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