More Groups Cry Foul Over FAIR Act


With Senate hearings on the Fairness, Accuracy, Inclusivity and Responsiveness in Ratings (FAIR Ratings) Act slated to begin tomorrow, an eclectic group of media industry representatives are voicing their opposition to the bill, which would make it mandatory for Nielsen Media Research or any other ratings company to receive approval from the Media Ratings Council before rolling out a new system in any market.

Tuesday's latest batch of letters, which support Nielsen's stance against the bill, came from American Advertising Federation President and CEO Wallace Snyder, Oxygen Media CEO Geraldine Laybourne and Jonathan Sanchez of Eastern Group Publications, one of the largest Latino publishers in Los Angeles. The Association of National Advertisers also submitted a letter opposing the FAIR Ratings Act Tuesday.

Laybourne said that TV networks need continuous advances in television ratings measurements. Under mandatory accreditation by the MRC, she said, "innovation would slow to a crawl as vital new systems and technologies would have to remain idle until MRC members could agree on acceptable standards -- a process that literally could take years." Nielsen's current policy -- to seek voluntary accreditation as it enacts new systems -- "results in accuracy without slowing innovation," Laybourne added.

With advanced technologies like digital video recorders altering the TV industry, American Advertising Federation head Snyder said the government must be careful "not to create legislation that would hinder the medium's ability to manage such change" and, under the proposed legislation, "innovation would slow to a crawl." 

A version of the bill has also been introduced in the House.