NAACP Backs Research Group’s Attempt to Diversify

Nielsen Media Research announced endorsement from Kweisi Mfume,President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancementof Colored People (NAACP) for the implementation of theorganization’s Local People Meters (LPMs) into new mediamarkets around the country last month.

The Nielsen Media Research is the entityresponsible for providing demographic ratings information forcompanies to fix fees for commercials and other things. Mfume isanother addition to an already budding list of supporters of theLPMs including Jesse Jackson, Debra Jackson of Black EntertainmentTelevision, TV One’s Jonathan Rodgers and others in the mediaindustry.

According to a Nielsen brief, The Local PeopleMeter, the “golden standard for televisionmeasurement,” is an electronic device that automaticallymeasures television viewing. The viewer clicks a button, andautomatically the viewed program is recorded. The impetus behindNielsen moving to introduce the LPMs into more markets is to giverepresentation to minority groups throughout the country.

In the letter Mfume wrote to Nielsen Presidentand CEO Susan Whiting he said that the “LPM is clearly a moreaccurate and reliable way of tracking household viewing habits thatany previous” form.

Mfume went on, in his letter, to state that,”In order to insure balance and proper weighting oftelevision viewer ship, it is essential that African Americans,Latinos and others are accurately counted. It is only through afair count that networks will be further convinced to airsubstantive programs that are of special interest to ever-growingminority audiences. I believe that the LPM system will bettermeasure the broader television audience and therefore can be aneffective tool in promoting greater diversity in the programmingproduced by the television industry.”

The Nielsen organization, since 1950 has beenthe nation’s leader in measuring television viewer ship.Currently the organization uses the LPMs and paper diaries as thechief forms of measurement. In order to use the paper diaries, theviewer makes logs of the programming watched.

A Nielsen fact sheet states that”It‘s human nature when filling out a paper diary toremember the best-known and most popular programming, sometimesforgetting a lesser-known program or channel…” ThePeople Meter would capture every change of the channel that themight not be recorded in the paper diary thus possibly increasingadvertising to certain demographics.