Judge: ‘LPMs’ Can Roll Into L.A.

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A judge Thursday rejected Univision Communications Inc.’s bid to block Nielsen Media Research from introducing “Local People Meter” TV-measurement technology in the Los Angeles market July 8.

State Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Czuleger, in a ruling issued orally from the bench, said arguments that Univision would be damaged by the rollout were speculative and he was greatly troubled by the First Amendment implications of the requested injunction against Nielsen.

Univision attorneys said they weren’t surprised but were disappointed, and an appeal was highly unlikely given the holiday weekend.

They added that the issue presumably would be resolved at trial. No trial date has been set yet.

“We are disappointed with today’s ruling, but we continue to believe strongly in the merits of our lawsuit,” the company said in a prepared statement. “Univision supports Nielsen’s LPM technology, but it is concerned with its currently planned sampling and weighting methodologies.”

The company continued, “Like numerous other television companies and leading industry groups, Univision believes Nielsen should refrain from initiating its LPM service in Los Angeles until its sample accurately represents the composition of the Los Angeles market, including the Hispanic-American population. Thus, Univision will press ahead with its lawsuit and diligently work to ensure that reasonable and appropriate modifications are adopted to the LPM service.”

"We are pleased that Judge Czuleger has refused to deny the Los Angeles market the obvious and immediate benefits of Local People Meters," Nielsen countered in its own prepared statement. "The evidence we presented demonstrated clearly that the electronic People Meter is a more reliable and complete way to measure TV viewing than handwritten paper diaries."
The ratings service continued, "Judge Czuleger specifically found no evidence that we undercount Latinos or any other demographic group. We are confident that if this case goes to trial, we will again prevail on the merits."

Univision has claimed that the LPM methodology undercounts Hispanic viewers. Nielsen countered that Univision is upset because the LPMs show that female Hispanics aged 18-34 are watching cable networks and not Univision’s local broadcast station.

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