Nielsen in Stare-Out With Ratings Body and Critics

02 June 2004

In what looks mighty like a stare-out contest, Nielsen Media Research insists it will go live next week with its new electronic TV viewer measurement system in the New York metropolitan area.

Disquiet has been expressed about the statistical ethnic mix of Nielsen's Portable People Meter research sampling in the area [WAMN: 30-Apr-04], many critics fearing it will seriously under-represent black, Hispanic and young viewers.

Among those expressing concern are various media-owners (including Lachlan Murdoch, deputy chief operating officer of News Corporation and chairman of Fox Television), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and such formidable politicians as the Democrat senator for New York, Hilary Rodham Clinton.

Also uneasy about Nielsen's methodology is the Media Rating Council representing television and radio broadcasters, cablecasters, print organizations, advertisers, internet organizations, advertising agencies and industry trade associations.

The MRC has refused accreditation to the new system and has declined to publicly state its reasons. Even Nielsen, it seems, has yet to receive a written explanation of the MRC's concerns.

The researcher is in no mood for further delay and says it will cross the starting line next week with or without accreditation.

It remains to be seen who will blink first.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff