The media mogul has got herself all caught up in a twitter scandal after sending out a tweet asking her nine million followers to tune into her OWN channel.
“Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Neilsen box,” she wrote in a tweet.
Oprah’s viewer-seeking tweet may seem harmless enough, especially because she and others do it all the time. However; it appears the violation occurred when the OWN exec solicited viewership from Neilson viewers directly, a major violation of the ratings company’s policy.
Neilsen measures television viewership by examining the habits of 25,000 households containing one of its boxes to determine the ratings for every show on the air. The data is rendered unreliable if viewers are explicitly directed to watch a particular show.
Oprah later removed the tweet from her feed and apologized for the gaffe, but not before thousands of her followers retweeted the request, erupting a steady stream of backlash from fellow tweeters that the request was “desperate” and that she was obviously “begging for viewers” for her cable network.
The media queen fired back at her critics in defense of herself with responses such as:
“Desperate’ not ever a part of my vocab.”
“Just making a request, since I can’t watch myself. Choice is yours.”
“The word ‘please’ is used as courtesy not a beg,”
“Huh? Corrupt? Me? You really believe that?
“Unethical a little harsh don’t u think? Seemed like it made sense to me. Sorry if u’re offended.”
Oprah’s request and all the fuss surrounding it also caught Neilsen’s eye prompting the ratings company to release this statement:
“In accordance with our policies and procedures, Nielsen is reviewing this incident with our clients and we may withhold, breakout and/or make a note in the ratings. We take any violation of our policy seriously and will work with clients to resolve the situation.”
It appears Oprah’s plea for viewers could cause the ratings data for OWN to be smacked with a big disclaimer indicating the data is biased. This is unfortunate as the network has been experience poor ratings since it’s launch last year.