Byron Allen’s media companies filed suit Wednesday against Nielsen, alleging the measurement company committed fraud by claiming it could accurately measure their TV networks when it really couldn’t.
The complaint, filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, claims Allen’s networks—including The Weather Channel and several high-definition TV networks—were given false assurances about measurement accuracy starting in 2017 from a team that included former Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns.
Nielsen declined to comment.
“Nielsen knew that, based on the limitations of its panel system and the fragmentation of television viewership, it could not reliably rate smaller networks,” the complaint said. “Nielsen concealed this highly material fact.”
Allen’s holdings include Allen Media Group, which owns 27 network affiliate stations in 21 U.S. markets; Entertainment Studios Networks, with 12 24-hour high-definition TV channels serving 220 million cable subscribers; and Weather Group.