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Nielsen: Regulating Ratings Unnecessary

3/07/2005 8:31 AM Eastern

Nielsen Media Research responded Monday to a letter that 17 members of the House of Representatives sent to the Federal Trade Commission Friday in which they complained that Nielsen’s new “Local People Meter” system may offer an inaccurate picture of the number of African-American and Hispanic households and may require regulation.

Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress signed the letter, including Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Mary Bono (D-Calif.). The letter asks FTC chairman Deborah Platt Majoras to determine whether the agency “can play a role in assisting Congress in this matter.”

“Over the past year, questions have been raised about the reliability of Nielsen’s ratings data and the lack of oversight of Nielsen, which effectively operates as a monopoly,” the representatives wrote in the letter to Majoras.

Nielsen responded Monday by noting that it believes regulation of the ratings industry is unnecessary.

“Regulation would have a damaging effect on ratings accuracy by slowing down innovation at a time of rapid change in entertainment-viewing habits,” Nielsen said in a prepared statement. “Worse, it would give large, politically connected media companies a chance to influence the ratings process to their advantage, as certain of them have recently attempted.”

News Corp. has been the largest opponent of Nielsen’s LPM system.

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