Nielsen Agrees to Task Force Plans

Mar 28, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Nielsen Media Research said last week it is committed to implementing many of the recommendations of a task force created last year to examine the issue of undercounting of minorities in television ratings.

The findings and recommendations of the task force, made public by Nielsen, cap an eight-month examination of how effectively Nielsen captures the viewing habits of people of color.

The Independent Task Force on Television Measurement was created in April 2004 amid concern that Nielsen’s implementation of Local People Meters was causing inaccurate measurement of minorities.

Many of the task force’s recommendations focus on six areas: LPM sampling, field operations, fault rates, diversity efforts, communications, and research and development.

Among the recommendations are that Nielsen oversample people of color in all LPM markets and collect individual characteristics on household members, including the race and language of each person in a sample household.

The task force also suggested that Nielsen beef up its multilingual efforts by ensuring that recruitment materials be translated into Spanish and the main Asian languages, and having the flexibility to translate into other languages as needed. The task force also made suggestions on how to improve cultural sensitivity among Nielsen’s representatives.

As a means to reduce fault rates, Nielsen said, it will heed the task force’s recommendation to conduct an independent investigation on the impact of fault rates and to implement one-on-one training for people in households that have a high risk for faulting.

In addition, the task force suggested Nielsen bolster diversity efforts in the audience sample as well as within Nielsen; improve how Nielsen communicates its messages both within and outside its organization; and use private and public monies to set up an independent research institute that ensures the television industry has greater input into how ratings research is conducted.

Cynthia Rotunno, executive director of the Don’t Count Us Out Coalition, said in a statement Friday that the activist group “has long championed these reforms and they should be implemented in a timely fashion.

“Given the history of Nielsen and its status as an unregulated monopoly, we continue to believe that the timely and continued implementation of these recommendations requires independent oversight; the kind of oversight that is being discussed by both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate,” the statement said.