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Responding to prodding from the Magazine Publishers of America, the nation's top syndicated researcher, Mediamark Research Inc., last week took its first step toward being audited by the Electronic Media Ratings Council.

"What we've done is ask EMRC to draw up a proposal, and we've given them a $10,000 deposit," said MRI President David "Lou" Bender. "We'll get audited one way or the other."


That should come as a big relief to the MPA.

"The publishing industry believes in having impartial third parties look at research," said Kathi Love, VP-director of the MPA Research Committee, which early this month passed a resolution urging audits for all researchers.

Simmons Market Research Bureau underwent an audit by the EMRC earlier this year-an about-face from two years ago, when it drew harsh criticism after refusing an MPA request to address troubling questions on its methodology for tracking magazine readership.

Ultimately, that triggered major management and methodology changes at Simmons, which is now in a rebuilding phase.

Simmons President-CEO Rebecca McPheters said her company received accreditation in August and that the total tab was "well in excess of $100,000."

Among other companies, EMRC audits are A.C. Nielsen Co. and Arbitron Co.

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