CAB, 4As Watch LPM Issues

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Two industry trade groups last week asked Nielsen Media Research to resolve the issues that are keeping its Local People Meter system from getting accredited. Nielsen claimed it is working on those issues.

Even though they say they support the LPMs, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) have sent letters to Nielsen CEO Susan Whiting relating to the LPMs’ failure to win approval from the Media Rating Council.

Last Thursday, Nielsen issued a detailed explanation about how it is trying to address the problems that were uncovered by the MRC’s audit of the LPMs in New York. The company released that information after the findings of the audit were leaked to the Los Angeles Times, becoming fodder for what Nielsen called a “campaign of disinformation” by its rivals.

The CAB, which said it’s in favor of the LPMs and their recent launch in New York City, asked Nielsen not to roll any of that unaccredited sample into the ratings company’s national audience panel right now, according to CAB vice president of research Ira Sussman.

Sussman’s remarks last week came after representatives of Don’t Count Us Out, a News Corp.-backed coalition of Hispanic and black groups opposed to the launch of LPMs, claimed during a conference call with reporters that the CAB had come out against the LPMs.

Sussman had written a letter to Whiting on behalf of the bureau’s Committee On National Cable Audience Measurement. Most of the CAB’s MSO members are supporting the LPM rollouts, according to Sussman.

The 4As asked Nielsen to resolve the LPM issues raised by the MRC as quickly as possible, according to president O. Burtch Drake.

“Obviously, accreditation by the MRC is extremely important from an industry standpoint,” he said. “So we urge Nielsen to get on with answering their concerns, and at least get that issue off the table.”

That aside, the 4As still supports the new meters. “Nielsen is kind of getting a stick in the eye undeservedly here,” he said. “Obviously, there are some technical issues with the MRC, but the larger issue with People Meters is that they’re much, much better than what’s out there now. The 4As fully endorses them, and the sooner we can get on with them the better. But there are some issues that need to be resolved.”

Last week, the National Hispanic Media Coalition said it might file suit to block Nielsen the Los Angeles LPM rollout in July. Univision has already filed such a suit.

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