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The Nielsen ratings will mean even less in the Salt Lake television market beginning July 1. KUTV-Ch. 2's parent company is dropping the service in favor of competitor Rentrak for its Utah stations.

KUTV and KMYU will join KSL-Ch. 5 in relying on Rentrak's Station Views Essentials.

Steve Marks, COO of Sinclair, KUTV's parent company, said, "We are extremely pleased to extend our relationship with Rentrak. The relatively large database size provided by Rentrak's service provides for much greater ratings stability and predictability than would otherwise be obtainable, at a very fair price."

And that "very fair price" is the key point. Lots of stations around the country have balked at paying Nielsen in recent years, and Rentrak provides an alternative.

The new agreement affects the two stations in Utah as well as Sinclair stations in West Palm Beach, Fla., Providence, R.I., and Austin, Texas, and extends existing agreements Sinclair has with Rentrak in a dozen other markets.

"We plan to evaluate whether or not to make similar moves in other markets when our contracts with Nielsen come up for renewal in the near future," Marks said.

Sinclair's station group includes 84 stations in 23 states.

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