Opposition Mounts Against New York Meters, Calls For Federal Review Of Nielsen
"We are calling on the FCC and the FTC to force Nielsen to be fair and accurate," New York State Assemblyman Jose Rivera, said Sunday in support of a New York State Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Legislative Caucus petition to investigate Nielsen's "undercounting" of black and Hispanic viewers. The initiative follows a similar complaint by federal lawmakers on Thursday, which also called for an audit of Nielsen's methods following a report by the National Hispanic Media Council, which claims Nielsen under-represents Latino viewing to English-language programming.
Both initiatives, as well as a complaint last week from Lachlan Murdoch, deputy COO of News Corp. and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group, cited Nielsen's decision to delay the deployment of local people meters in Los Angeles due the ethnic "complexity" of that market. Nielsen last week said it was postponing the rollout of people meters in Los Angeles and Chicago, but would proceed with its plan to introduce people meters in New York on April 8.
But the New York legislative caucus said the move would contribute to a "systemic undercounting could lead to the cancellation of numerous programs geared toward African American and Latino viewers, as well as impacting negatively on Spanish-speaking programming, dealing a serious blow to efforts to encourage diversity in the industry as a whole."
The complaints are adding to pressures for a federal review of Nielsen's methods, and follow a separate "informal" complaint over Nielsen's business practices made by the American Association of Advertising Agencies to the FTC. The FTC has dropped that query, but ad industry executives said a "formal" complaint could be initiated soon, possibly by the Association of National Advertisers. An ANA spokesperson declined to comment on such plans.