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Nielsen Debuts People Meter in NYC Despite Concerns

Nielsen Media Research began offering Local People Meter data this week in New York, and will continue to operate the city's current meter/diary system for three more months due to differing opinions on the specifics of its implementation. During this time, either set of data may be used commercially. Nielsen originally planned to debut the LPM on April 8, but held off due to community leaders and officials who raised questions about the system, and whether or not it accurately represents minorities.

Univision released a statement on the introduction date saying it is "astounded" that Nielsen would proceed with the LPM service despite evidence that the sample is flawed and accreditation from the Media Ratings Council has been withheld citing "non-compliance" with MRC standards and other "performance issues." The company, which is the country's largest broadcaster targeting Hispanics, says the public will be confused by the simultaneous systems, and the sample on which Nielsen will base its LPM ratings contains too few Hispanics, too many small Hispanic households and too many Hispanic households that speak mostly or only English. "Therefore, the LPM ratings will materially understate viewing to Spanish-language stations like Univision, and exaggerate viewing to English-language stations," the company said.

Tribune Broadcasting also criticized the decision, calling it "unwise and unsound" and asked Nielsen to reverse its decision.