Ratings Task Force Comes Out Against Oversight Measures

Jul 20, 2005  •  Post A Comment

The Independent Task Force on Television Measurement, formed by Nielsen Media Research and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., after protests against Nielsen’s Local People Meter service began in 2004, took a stand Wednesday against proposed federal legislation to require additional oversight of TV ratings.

In letters to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the House Commerce Committee, task force Chairwoman Cardiss Collins said the bills would “significantly roll back much of the progress” that the organization and Nielsen have achieved toward more accurately measuring how audiences of color watch television.

Concerned that the legislation would seriously limit Nielsen’s ability to introduce new and improved measurement systems, the task force noted that newer systems benefit ethnic networks, stations and advertising agencies because they better capture viewing choices.

“However, under these bills, opportunities like this would disappear,” the task force wrote in its letters. “For example, the legislation would stop Nielsen from continuing to provide affordable local ratings to Spanish-language stations. That is because existing services like the Nielsen Hispanic Station Index — whose samples are fairly small and combine data from other samples — cannot be accredited by the Media Rating Council. If the bills become law, Nielsen would have to shut down these services and eliminate the only available ratings to these clients.”

The task force asked members of the Senate and House commerce committees to support a continuing free market process for dealing with ratings issues and to ensure that communities of color are not negatively impacted by any legislation.