Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) and Congressman Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) introduced the Television Viewer Protection Act Thursday that would require new TV ratings systems to have full approval from the Media Ratings Council to operate. The proposed legislation is similar to the FAIR Act (for fairness, accuracy, inclusivity and responsiveness) that was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont) two weeks ago.
“The interests of viewers of television programming will be best secured by an industry oversight system that guarantees accurate ratings of television shows,” the Congressional bill states.
The Television Viewer Protection Act would require Nielsen – and other competitors – to get MRC approval before rolling out new systems, such as Nielsen’s electronic Local People Meters, currently operating in seven markets. Nielsen plans to launch LPMs in Atlanta, Detroit and Dallas next year.
The Don’t Count Us Out Coalition, a Fox-backed group that protests against LPMs, applauded the proposed bill, “which would add badly needed reinforcement to a 40-year-old system of check and balances over Nielsen and its ratings system,” it said in a statement.