Discord over use of Nielsen People Meters continues

LOS ANGELES: Controversy over Nielsen Media Research's Local People Meters (LPM) heated up this month with the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster filing suit to stop the devices from rolling out in LA and Nielsen creating an independent panel to examine charges that LPMs undercount minorities.

LOS ANGELES: Controversy over Nielsen Media Research's Local People Meters (LPM) heated up this month with the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster filing suit to stop the devices from rolling out in LA and Nielsen creating an independent panel to examine charges that LPMs undercount minorities.

Earlier this month, Univision Communications sued to block use of LPMs, charging that they might undercount minorities in LA by as much as half.

Nielsen responded with its own court filing defending the meters. The company also announced the formation of a national task force, which includes Hispanic PR practitioner Ray Durazo.

Nielsen is concentrating PR efforts on one-on-one meetings with community leaders, said SVP of corporate communications Jack Loftus.

"It's become more of a public issue than these things normally are," he said.

LPMs became a PR problem for Nielsen when early trials in New York showed viewership declines compared with diary data collection for some shows that tend to be popular with minorities. Critics charged that the change was erroneous and would harm advertising rates.

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