Nielsen Delays New Ratings Technique

Responding to concerns that its new “people meter” ratings technology would significantly undercount minority viewers, Nielsen Media Research, which tracks TV viewership in the U.S., has announced that it will delay the new product’s national rollout, even as it insists that the numbers generated by the meters are accurate. “In tests of the new system, almost all of the most popular shows in black households dropped in the ratings, some by as much as 60 percent.” TV stations don’t like the system either, largely because the meters do a more accurate job of recording how often viewers flip between channels than the traditional handwritten viewer diaries ever did.