WASHINGTON — Despite concerns over accuracy in tallying black and Latino viewers raised by leading members of Congress, the NAACP and the National Assn. of Broadcasters, Nielsen plans to move forward in the next two days with a new way of gathering TV ratings information in New York.
The NAB’s Television Board of Directors was the latest group to urge Nielsen to postpone the rollout of its new local People Meters late last week. Political interests in Gotham maintain that the Nielsen sample undercounts various demographic groups, namely blacks and Hispanics.
“We believe it is Nielsen’s responsibility to fully address the concerns of its broadcast clients … before implementing such a fundamental change to the industry currency,” the board said in a statement.
Nielsen did not return calls seeking comment.
Fox is particularly concerned because many of its shows have a large Latino audience, and the net’s lobbyists have been consumed with trying to convince Nielsen to put off the New York implementation date.
Lachlan Murdoch, chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group, has warned that local People Meters could undercount viewership by as much as 25%. In the last few weeks, the NAACP, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.), Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) and nearly 20 members of the New York City Council have asked Nielsen to delay the new measuring system.
The People Meters will replace the information collected by paper diaries and outmoded set-top box with technology designed to digitally collect the number and demographic information from everyone watching TV in a Nielsen household.
Nielsen plans to implement the People Meters in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles as part of a larger attempt to switch all the 10 largest markets to the new system by next year.
But complaints have already led Nielsen to delay the rollout in Los Angeles and Chicago.