Coalition Renews Call For Ratings Bill - Broadcasting & Cable

Coalition Renews Call For Ratings Bill

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The Don't Count Us Out Coalition, a group spearheaded by Fox to fight the rollout of Local People Meters, Wednesday echoed its call for mandatory ratings accreditation by the Media Ratings Council, saying legislation was needed to ensure that.

Currently, the industry-backed group's acreditation for services like Nielsen's local TV meters, is voluntary.

Nielsen created the task force after the coalition succeeded in generating opposition and ink on Nielsen's new meters, which it said undercounted minorities.

The Coalition's call was prompted by the recommendations of the Taskforce on Television Measurement (created by Nielsen), which Tuesday said the accreditation should remain voluntary, though recommending some changes to MRC.

"Legislation pending in the House and Senate is the only way - short of Nielsen's agreement to submit to mandatory accreditation -- to empower the MRC to ensure that all television viewers are counted accurately and equally," the group said.

Senator Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) introduced a bill making accreditation mandatory and requiring more government oversight of the MRC, which was created by Congress in the 1960's in the wake of some ratings scandals.

The coalition did endorse the task force's recommendation that the MRC add more "diverse voices"--inlcuding more advertisers, consumer groups, and minority businesses, saying the move "show[ed] the Taskforce understands that the status quo is not acceptable."

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