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NAACP Backs People Meters, Says Nielsen

Nielsen claims a powerful new ally in its rollout of Local People Meters.

NAACP President Kweisi Mfume has agreed to support the meters, according to spokesman Jack Loftus. Nielsen President Susan Whiting met with Mfume Thursday, says Loftus, and Mfume "agreed to be an enthusiastic supporter" and will spread the word to NAACP chapters "immediately."

Various minority groups, with the strong backing of Fox, have been lobbying against rollout of the service because tests of the meters in New York showed large decreases in minority viewing to broadcast TV, including Fox stations.

Nielsen says those results are simply better tracking of an actual flight of many minority viewers to other media, including cable networks like BET. Not surprisingly, BET has come out in support of the new meters.

Top Spanish-language TV station broadcaster Univision says that as of now, it is not signing up for the new meters. Nielsen is targeting a June 3 launch in New York, July 8 in L.A., Aug. 5 in Chicago and Sept. 30 in San Francisco.

The NAACP had not returned calls at press time to confirm.