Nielsen Sees Growing Opposition To Service

Nielsen Media Research executives were out in force last week to counter the arguments of Don’t Count Us Out, the coalition of African American and Hispanic groups protesting the launch of local people meter service in New York. DCUO took its cause to Los Angeles and Chicago, where Nielsen has slated LPM rollouts for July 8 and Aug. 5, respectively.

Challenges are also coming from Washington, where last week House Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton, R.-Texas, and Telecommunications Subcommittee chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said they will send a letter to the General Accounting Office requesting an audit of the LPM service.

“The vast majority of the industry supports people meters and want us to proceed, and that’s our intention,” said a spokesman at Nielsen’s new PR firm, WPP’s Robinson Lerer Montgomery.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies told its members last week that the New York LPM is “representative” of the market.

Nielsen, which is owned by Adweek parent VNU, last week dispatched PR reps to L.A. and Chicago, where DCUO held twin press conferences. Nielsen also distributed a research paper and a DVD titled Everyone Counts, and hired the University of Southern California’s Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, a Latino policy research organization.

Also last week, Nielsen critics noted that the Task Force on TV Measurement, announced last month by Nielsen president Susan Whiting and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., has not yet been formed. Nielsen, which agreed to delay the New York LPM service from April 8 to June 3, last week said it is not responsible for putting together the task force, but DCUO disagreed. “They present data as if due diligence was done,” said a DCUO spokesman.

The Nielsen rep said the task force is not tied to the New York LPM launch.

The first LPM, launched in Boston in 2002, was accredited by the Media Rating Council. The L.A., Chicago and New York LPMs have yet to be accredited.