Simmons Voices Support for ‘LPMs’


Another media heavyweight has come out in support of Nielsen Media Research’s “Local People Meters.”

Rush Communications chairman and CEO Russell Simmons, head of one of the country’s largest African-American-owned media companies, announced his support for LPMs Monday.

He joined a list including outgoing National Association for the Advancement of Colored People CEO Kweisi Mfume; The Rev. Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; TV One CEO Johnathan Rodgers; and Black Entertainment Television CEO Debra Lee.

“Innovating television ratings is a process that should be encouraged and supported, and we think the marketplace is in the best position to judge its value," Simmons wrote in an open letter to Nielsen CEO Susan Whiting.

"To the extent that there are opportunities to further enhance the People Meter system, we believe the responsibility ultimately rests with Nielsen, its clients and the communities they serve,” he added.

Simmons’ letter continued, “By continually improving its audience samples and expanding the number of households of color, Nielsen is working hard to make certain that all viewers are fairly represented in its television ratings. It is not surprising that one giant media conglomerate -- News Corp.'s Fox TV -- is displeased with their ratings and wants the government to legislate ratings services to protect their competitive position.”

In a prepared statement, Whiting responded, “It's heartening to us that someone like Russell Simmons, founder of the largest African-American-owned media conglomerate, understands the need for the LPM system in today's ever-changing media environment and that he stands on the right side of this issue.”