Station Owners Request Nielsen Postpone Continued Roll Out of Local People Meter Service

More than one dozen media companies with television stations located across the country have requested that Nielsen Media Research postpone the continued roll out of Local People Meter (LPM) service. The list of station owners included Allbritton Communications Company, Barrington Broadcasting Company, Belo Corporation, CBS, Cox Television, The Dispatch Broadcast Group, Emmis Communications, E.W. Scripps Company, Fisher Communications, Fox Television Stations, Gannett Broadcasting, Liberty Corporation, LIN-TV, Media General Broadcast Group, NBC- Universal Television Stations, Post-Newsweek Stations, Inc., and Tribune Broadcasting Company.

In a May 25th letter to Nielsen president and chief executive officer Susan Whiting, the media companies pointed to "flaws" in the LPM system that they said should be removed before the service is expanded. They requested that Nielsen delay further roll out of LPMs until the Media Ratings Council (MRC) has accredited this service in the markets where it is now being used, and that it receive accreditation in new markets prior to launching the service.

In the letter, the media companies said they "support the use of new technology to improve audience measurement," but that the reliability of the LPM service should be verified by MRC. So far, LPM service has been accredited by the MRC in only two of the five markets in which Nielsen has made it the only standard of television audience measurement. Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. are slated for conversion to LPM service on June 2. Detroit, Atlanta and Dallas are scheduled for conversion to LPM service later this year.