NEW YORK In an effort to curb civic pressure about the accuracy of how it will measure local audiences of minorities with its new people meter technology, Nielsen has decided to postpone its rollout in New York to June 3. Local people meters were supposed to be introduced in the city April 8.
In response to criticism about how the new technology measures viewer support of programming featuring African Americans and Latinos, Nielsen Media Research and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) joined to form a task force to study ways of delivering accurate accounting of those viewers.
The delay will give Nielsen time to meet with clients, elected officials and community leaders who have inquired about the system, according to the company. The Task Force on TV Measurement will be designed to "ensure that people of color are fully counted in TV ratings and to review future initiatives to make certain that networks, stations and advertisers have the best possible information on which to base their decisions," according to the company. The membership of the ongoing task force will consist of industry and community leaders, to be announced by Congressman Rangel and Nielsen shortly.
"We are aware that success in television is dependent on the ratings and we want to be certain that our choices are recognized and accurately reflected," said Rangel, in a statement. He also acknowledged the adverse reaction of minority communities to any technology that would appear to "undercount the numbers of African Americans and Latinos watching television," while stating that he believes "Nielsen is committed to ensuring that its ratings correctly mirror the viewing patterns of African American and Latino audiences."
Susan Whiting, CEO and president of Nielsen Media Research, said: "Out of respect for the elected officials and community leaders who have voiced concern about people meters, we are rescheduling the launch in New York City so that we can fully answer all their inquiries."
Adweek and Nielsen are both owned by parent company VNU.