Cyber attack hits TV ratings

EXCLUSIVE: Overnight ratings are not expected to be delivered to television executives and advertisers at 9am today.

Late yesterday ratings provider OzTAM advised networks that due to a potential cyber-attack at the Nielsen data centre, Overnight ratings would not be published this morning.

The cause and severity of the attack is unclear with Nielsen working locally and globally to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Whilst no panel homes were polled last night, data can be stored for two weeks.

A Nielsen spokesperson told TV Tonight, “Nielsen has become aware of an unexpected disruption relating to the Australian TV Audience Measurement (TAM) data centre environment.

“The day’s TV viewing data will be collected and processed once functionality is restored. This means that Overnight data for Tuesday (July 21) will be delayed.

“Our team is dedicated to resolving this matter swiftly. In the meantime, we will be sure to keep the industry informed as new information on the matter becomes available. “

The potential attack falls in one of the biggest weeks of TV, and on a day in between MasterChef and Big Brother grand finals.

OzTAM’s TV ratings service provider, Nielsen TAM, collects and produces ratings data on OzTAM’s behalf.

Nielsen data for regional viewing is provided to RegionalTAM.

Update Thursday 23rd:

Nielsen statement: “Nielsen has become aware of an unexpected disruption relating to the Australian TV Audience Measurement (TAM) data centre environment. This disruption is derived from a ransomware attack in which Nielsen was the victim. As a result, TV ratings data remains unavailable. Nielsen can confirm, however, that all households are still collecting viewing data and that referencing sites have not been impacted. Nielsen’s global and local infrastructure teams took the steps to contain the incident, launched a robust investigation and are currently working to resolve the issue as fast as possible. We will be sure to keep the industry informed as new information on the matter becomes available.”

11 Comments:

  1. Interesting reading this and then your follow up article about the delay extending to tomorrow – what terrible timing for Seven with the Big Brother finale. No one will care about the finale ratings days after its aired. By the sounds of it, the data is still recording, but is not accessible to be published? I wonder what value there is to this data for the hackers…apart from just causing disruption. I wonder if this attack will lead to these nights being excluded from official ratings share results at the end of the year?

  2. Speaking as a house with a box for the last maybe five years, we dont even have FTA on our television anymore (going on nealy 10 months). All we use is streaming services.

  3. A good idea to email in with what you watch, and probably get a truer ratings number, our household and all our family and friends only watch channel 7 news.

  4. if it helps i only watched 9 news then streaming services for the rest of the night and so did all my friends. Just get everyone to email in what they watched, probably be a better sample, ratings for me are like the political poles, don’t really believe any of them

    • *Like* this comment.

      David – you definitely need a “Like” or “Thumbs up” comment option {Not sure how tricky this would be to implement} But would be great to quickly like necessary cynical comments like this.

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