National Association for the Advancement of Colored People CEO Kweisi Mfume officially endorsed of the use of "Local People Meters" in a letter to Nielsen Media Research CEO Susan Whiting.
Citing “much reflection and personal investigation” in his decision, Mfume called the meter system a “more accurate and reliable way of tracking household viewing habits” and a “vastly improved way of measuring television viewership.”
Mfume met with Whiting in May and offered his endorsement at that time, even though NAACP Chairman Julian Bond has been critical of the system.
In the interest of ensuring balance and proper weighting, Mfume said, “it is essential that African-Americans, Latinos and others are accurately counted.”
Joining Rev. Jesse Jackson, TV One’s Johnathan Rodgers and BET’s Debra Lee in supporting the system, Mfume stated his belief that LPMs would provide a better measure of the broader television audience and be an “effective tool in promoting greater diversity in the programming produced by the television industry.”
People meters were launched in 1987 to measure network audiences but are being rolled out for local ratings in the top 10 TV markets by 2006. Currently, LPMs are in use in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.