Nielsen Would Agree to Ratings Audit


A senior Nielsen Media Research spokesman said Tuesday that the ratings company would be perfectly happy to have an independent company review its data, but he suggested that Nielsen is not the one to be making that pitch to.

The Don't Count Us Out Coalition -- a group protesting the rollout of Nielsen "Local People Meters," arguing that they undercount minorities -- has called for the rating company to agree to an independent review of its data and methodology, a call echoed yesterday by Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

Fine, says Nielsen Media Research's Jack Loftus, "an audit is an audit."

Loftus points out that the company is already audited by the Media Rating Council, whose members include TV and radio networks, cable companies, ad agencies and others, essentially the stakeholders in Nielsen, Arbitron and other ratings services.

The council was formed back in the 60's, with permission from the Justice Department, so that various ratings company clients could band together to independently audit the results to make sure they were accurate.

Loftus suggests that Nogales should contact those same companies, and "if he can get the buyers, the ad agencies, the networks," the guys with the money to pay for such an audit, to agree "we'll go along with that. If buyers and sellers are in agreement that they want an Alex Nogales audit, then fine."