Univision Versus Nielsen: LPMs Win Round One

05 July 2004

The Superior Court of the State of California in Los Angeles last week denied a request by Univision Communications for a preliminary injunction that would have blocked the July 8 launch of Nielsen Media Research's Local People Meters in that city.

The Hispanic media company issued a statement declaring itself "disappointed with today's ruling, but [we] continue to believe strongly in the merits of our lawsuit". Despite the setback, Univision will continue to pursue its lawsuit against Nielsen.

Continued the Univision statement: "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."

Said Nielsen in response: " The evidence we presented demonstrated clearly that the electronic people meter is a more reliable and complete way to measure TV viewing. 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."

Meantime, News Corporation-funded pressure group Don't Count Us Out stepped up its lobbying campaign in Chicago -- where the contentious LPMs will continue their rollout on August 5 -- demonstrating outside a hotel where Nielsen ceo Susan Whiting was presenting to the Black Consumer Research and Advertising Summit.

Countered a defiant Nielsen: "The DCUO coalition continues to misinform the people of Chicago [where] African Americans represent 17.9% of the Nielsen sample, versus 17.5% of the general population; while Latinos represent 12.3% of the sample, compared to 12.4% of the overall population."

Although determined to stay with its rollout schedule, Nielsen has agreed to meet with the DCUO. Meantime, the recalcitrant researcher still awaits Media Ratings Council accreditation for its LPMs.

Data sourced from: AdWeek.com; additional content by WARC staff