Nielsen Media Research says it will wait until Ernst & Young audit its new local people meter (LPM) ratings system and submits them to the Media Ratings Council before rolling out the system in new markets.
The announcement, revealed in a letter this week to its clients, marks a shift in Nielsen policy. Previously, the ratings giant has converted markets, including New York and Chicago, to LPMs months before the MRC, the independent overseer of its ratings systems, can study the results.
But Nielsen has been battling critism from broadcasters who lament its LPMs undercount minorities and young viewers. Seventeen station groups banded together recently demanding that Nielsen wait for full MRC accredidation before it launches LPMs in new markets. Nielsen isn’t going that far, but waiting for MRC audits is further than it has gone.
The new policy will not effect Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, which convert to LPMs June 30. It will begin with Dallas and Detroit next year and apply to any future LPM markets, including Atlanta in late 2006.