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Nielsen Pauses LPM Rollout

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NEW YORK Nielsen has decided to hit the pause button on the rollout of its local people meters once it completes the installation of the local TV ratings service in the top 25 markets.

In a letter to clients dated Tuesday, Nielsen cited the economy as the reason for slowing down its plans to replace its meter/diary methodology with LPMs in all 56 markets.

So far, Nielsen has rolled out LPMs in 18 markets. In 2009, six additional markets will make the transition to the LPM service; Orlando, Fla., Sacramento, Calif., and St. Louis, in January; and Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Portland, Ore., in July. Charlotte, N.C., originally scheduled for October 2009, will be rolled back until January 2010.

TV stations, facing double-digit revenue drops in 2009, are looking to find cost savings in every aspect of their business, including research.

"We all face a very challenging economic climate. Our clients have made it clear that we need to work closely with them to establish the right pacing of LPM rollouts, determine the right business model in light of current market conditions, and identify the most appropriate people meter technology for these midsize markets," Nielsen said.

Adweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.