02/02/2012 01:43 pm ET | Updated Apr 03, 2012

Networks Resort To Trickery In An Attempt To Lift Ratings

This is the kind of programming sleight of hand that executives seize on as they seek to gain every possible edge in the television ratings game, at a time when each tenth of a point or two enhances their standing in the nightly ratings and the ability to pitch to advertisers who spend billions of dollars a year. But these tactics are more about bragging rights than money.

The tricks themselves are familiar to most in the business: smart commercial buyers know when the ratings are being spun for a better story in the media or a claim in a print ad, and they insist on paying for the real ratings, not the artificially enhanced versions.