NIELSEN LAUNCHES L.A. PEOPLE METERS

Will Still Offer Paper Diary Data Through Sweeps Period

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Nielsen Media Research launched its local people meter for Los Angeles yesterday despite continued protests from a coalition of local interest groups, which is supported by News Corp.'s Fox Network.

The group, the Don't Count Us Out Coalition, planned a protest in Los Angeles yesterday.

Nielsen, a unit of VNU, said in a statement

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that it would offer data from paper diaries in the L.A. market for the July sweeps period, which ends Aug. 4, for those who are not convinced that the people meters are recording accurate information. ("Sweeps" refers to when local TV market ratings are studied by ad buyers and sellers. The results gauge ad prices for the following year.)

Nielsen also confirmed plans to launch people meters in Chicago on Aug. 5 and San Francisco on Sept. 30. In New York, where people meters are already in use, paper diaries will be discontinued Aug. 25.

The Media Ratings Council, an audience-measurement audit body, is reviewing the latest Nielsen people meter in Los Angeles for accuracy and is yet to accredit Nielsen's New York system.

The Don't Count Us Out Coalition contends that the new local people meters are not adequately representing minority audiences.

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