Nielsen Rolls Meters, Refutes Study


The latest word from Nielsen is that the "Local People Meters" are still a go for launch July 8.

The ratings company has been fighting charges that its local meters undercount broadcast minority viewers. Nielsen also presented an independent analysis refuting a study critical of the meters.
Nielsen pushes ahead armed with a judge's ruling last week denying Hispanic broadcaster Univision's request for a preliminary injunction, and launches in the face of opposition from the Don't Count Us Out Coalition, which staged a protest on the steps of the L.A. City Hall Wednesday.

The ratings company also said launches for the meters in August in Chicago and September in San Francisco are still on track.

Nielsen also Wednesday released its own study of a study conducted by its opponents that purported to show flaws in the Nielsen system. According to Nielsen's study (by Latino policy researcher Tomás Rivera Policy Institute) of a National Latino Media Council study (by Rincon & Associates), Rincon "did not provide tangile evidence that Nielsen undercounts Latino viewers."

The study had concluded that Latinos are severely underrepresented by Nielsen, which it said leads the broadcast networks to prematurely cancel Latino-targeted programs and makes them reluctant to produce and air new Latino-themed shows, which then costs jobs in the Latino community.

It was some of those extended issues that helped the Coalition position the alleged undercounting as a civil rights violation and helped it gain some support in Washington, where a hearing on the meters is scheduled for July 15.

The Tomás Rivera analysis concluded: "We do not find convincing the Rincón and Associates' claim that their approach resulted in a better estimate of Latino television viewing patterns and that Nielsen under-estimates the number of Latinos watching any specific show.  In our view, Rincón and Associates' Latino Television Study does not seem to have offered the kind of precision and rigor that they claim to present."