Aim Takes Nielsen to Task

NEW YORK Aim Tell-A-Vision Group is launching a campaign to convince Nielsen Media Research to select its Hispanic audience sample based on nativity (U.S. or foreign born) rather than language.

The broadcast, print, outdoor and online effort, “Change the Sample,” will focus on New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Fla., San Antonio and Dallas, among other cities with heavy concentrations of Hispanic TV viewers. The ads feature a young Hispanic woman with tape across her mouth.

Aim contends that U.S. Hispanics, particularly American-born Hispanics whose viewing patterns are different than foreign-born Latinos, are under-represented in the Nielsen sample, which therefore presents a skewed impression of Hispanic viewing patterns.

Robert Rose, CEO of Aim, said Nielsen’s current system is costing English-language broadcast networks millions of dollars in advertising from Hispanic ad agencies that are instead placing their money on the Hispanic networks.

“According to Nielsen data, only 3 percent of Hispanic viewers watch Ugly Betty on ABC,” Rose said. “Nielsen data shows only 768,000 Hispanic viewers 18-49 are watching this show that was a hit in Latin America for years and a hit on Telemundo before it came to ABC, while 16.2 million general audience viewers are watching the show. How can that be?”

And, Rose continued, “Nielsen data shows that twice as many African-American viewers than Latino viewers watch George Lopez on ABC. That can’t be right.”

Rose said he met with Nielsen officials in January and was told that Nielsen would conduct a nativity study and present its results at the end of the summer, but that did not happen.

“I’m not waiting anymore,” he said. “We are going to take our campaign to the people and put pressure on Nielsen that way.”

Nielsen officials were not immediately available for comment but in the past have questioned Rose’s motivation because Aim is a producer of syndicated Hispanic programming for English-language television stations.

Nielsen has also said Rose should take his proposal to its client base within the industry and if the clients embrace it, Nielsen will consider it. But Rose said he’s done that and ielsen has ignored him.

Nielsen, like Adweek, is owned by VNU.