Talks have begun on the controversial “Local People Meter” issue.
Members of Don't Count Us Out -- a coalition of community leaders fighting alleged undercounting of minority viewers by Nielsen Media Research's LPM system -- met for the first time Friday with the Nielsen task force that was created to study the ratings service’s TV measurement.
Nielsen has continually defended itself and its LPMs against the underrepresentation claims.
Don't Count Us Out is calling for the Federal Trade Commission to bring Nielsen under its regulatory control. Sens. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) recently held hearings raising the same questions, Don’t Count Us Out added.
The Media Ratings Council currently has oversight of Nielsen, but when an MRC-contracted independent audit found that the LPM system "does not meet minimum industry standards," the organization was powerless to delay Nielsen from deploying it, Don’t’ Count Us Out said.
"Nielsen is unregulated and out of control," said Richard Willis Jr., a founding member of Harlem Arts Alliance and member of 100 Black Men. "No other private entity wields so much influence over the public domain without any government regulation and oversight."