Lower Ratings On Local People Meter

Preliminary analyses of data from Nielsen Media Research’s first demonstration of local people meters show HUT (homes using television) levels down across the board and virtually no gains for cable channels, compared to data from Nielsen’s standard TV-set meters.

“It’s off to a rocky start with a capital R,” Howard Nass, executive vp and director of local broadcast for TN Media, said of the demo, which is taking place in Boston. “They have two different samples, and they’re not jibing.”

Evening newscasts and prime access have shown the sharpest ratings declines with the local people meters, according to Tracie Chinetti, senior vp and director of broadcast services for Pro Media in Boston. One hit broadcast-network show registered a 10 percent ratings decline, Chinetti said.

Boston TV stations are understandably nervous about the lower ratings data generated by the local meters so far. “It doesn’t look good for anyone?I don’t think anybody is happy,” said Tricia Maloney, director of research and programming for Fox?owned WFXT-TV.

Ken Wollenberg, Nielsen senior vp of business development, noted that the demo began only a month ago. “There’s a lot [of data] to go,” he said. In late June, Nielsen will issue a comparison report, including all-important demographic ratings data.