A quarter of all adults in six of the top TV markets--and nearly half of African-American viewers in those markets--tuned in to last month's NBA Finals on ABC, according to new data from Nielsen Media Research.
Nielsen released those findings Tuesday in part to show the abilities of its new electronic measurement system, the local people meter (LPM), which is in use in seven top-10 markets (Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles). It released data from only the six newest markets (Boston has been an LPM market for several years now).
The LPMs report demographic information daily, compared to the older diary system, which only reports ratings information for sweeps periods.
Nielsen has released a flurry of LPM data recently.
The ratings system has come under fire from some local broadcasters, who say minorities and younger viewers are undercounted and underrepresented. Nielsen maintains the LPMs are a more accurate measurement tool, while conceding sampling issues it is working to fix.
The June data gives Nielsen an opportunity to crow about the benefits of LPMs. The ratings giant looked at ratings for major sporting events, including the NBA Finals, by market.
In New York, the NBA games were the month's most-watched sporting event among men and African-American viewers. The same held true in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington.
Among women 18-plus, in New York, D.C. and Philadelphia, the Belmont Stakes horse race was the most-watched event, while women in Chicago preferred the Indy 500 car race.
After the NBA Finals, the most popular program among African Americans 18-plus varied. In New York and Philadelphia, the Belmont Stakes placed second, while the Indy 500 ranked no. 2 in Chicago, D.C., Philadelphia and L.A.
Among adults 25 to 54, the NBA Finals posted the highest ratings in each market. The French Open and the U.S. Open Women's golf tournament ranked the lowest.
Nielsen says it released the information because it is the first June such data was available.