Arbitron, the principle ratings service for television, has been struggling with how to count viewing in the new digital media environment. With viewers now having the opportunity to watch the initial broadcast live, often with a repeat broadcast on the same or related channel shortly afterward, the later viewing from DVRs, on Video-On-Demand, and off Internet sites, there has been increasing concern over the validity of ratings numbers. That, combined with the networks concerns about continuing decline of their ratings and what impact that has on advertising dollars, has the industry trying to find ways to inflate ratings (or better count viewing).
However, there's been disagreement brewing between advertisers (who want to know who watched a particular ad at a particular time) and networks eager to increase ratings, if not viewing.
Anyway, the prompt for this thought was an announcement from Arbitron that they're once again delaying implementation of a new ratings system. The article doesn't indicate whether this is because of problems with the new data, or because of disagreements on how to count or what to include in the new numbers. Both have been issues in the past.
Arbitron delays new ratings