Eye Says 'Nay' to N.Y. Meters

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CBS is urging Nielsen Media Research to postpone implementation of "Local People Meters" in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago until problems with the household samples are fixed.

In a statement released Wednesday, CBS said that Nielsen should not proceed until it receives accreditation from the Media Ratings Council, which denied accreditation for the New York service last week until some problems are resolved.

Among the problems: a disproportionately higher number of older Hispanics in the New York sample and not enough younger Hispanics (18-34), according to Univision, which a day earlier urged Nielsen to delay.

Another problem: an extremely high "fault rate" among African American households in New York. A household "faults" when people in the household don't log on properly to identify themselves to the people meter before they watch TV.

The fault rate for African American's has been greater than 30% as late as last month, versus an average fault rate across the sample of less than half that.

Fred Reynolds, the CEO of the Viacom Stations, says the fault rate is solvable by going back to households and retraining people on the use of the people meter.

In its statement, CBS said it supports the people meter but not with flawed samples (which yield flawed data) and that Nielsen's "continued adherence to an overly aggressive, self-imposed timetable" is counterproductive.

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