TV Meters Give Shows Aimed at Minorities a Lift
Nielsen Media Research, whose data are used to set pricing for $60 billion in annual U.S. TV advertising, said new counting devices were finding larger audiences for minority-themed shows among blacks in Philadelphia and Washington than its previous system did.
Nielsen is seeking to defuse criticism from TV broadcasters that the devices, called local people meters, undercount minority viewers and could lead to the cancellation of shows targeted to them. The ratings company will quit using its previous system in Washington and Philadelphia on Thursday as part of a plan to introduce the local meters into the 10 largest U.S. TV markets.
“Girlfriends,” a UPN program about a group of black women, ranked No. 1 in May among black Philadelphians using local people meters, and the CBS crime drama “CSI” was first under the previous system, Nielsen said.
Nielsen is switching to local people meters because they provide daily demographic data on audiences. The earlier system provided detailed data only four times a year.