Nielsen Produces African-American Data

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In a review of May data, African-American-themed TV programming ranked higher in viewing in African-American households when measured by “Local People Meters” versus the old set-meters, Nielsen Media Research said Thursday.

Opponents of LPMs have charged that the new methodology produces lower ratings for programs with predominant African-American casts and themes. But Nielsen said that claim doesn’t hold up when comparing ranking for such shows among African-American viewers in two markets where LPMs and the meter-diary systems were working side-by-side.

In Philadelphia, six of the 10 most-watched shows by African Americans measured by LPMs were African-American-themed, compared with only two measured by the meter/diary system.

In Washington, D.C., three of the 30 most-watched shows among African Americans measured by LPMs were African-American-themed, compared with two out of the top 30 measured by set-meters.

As measured by set-meters, no African-American-themed show appeared in the top-10 most-watched shows. But using LPMs, one of the 10 most-watched shows by African Americans had African-American themes.

After protests from broadcasters, Nielsen delayed its formal launch of LPMs in Philadelphia and Washington about one month, to June 30.

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