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N.Y. Meters Don't Rate with NAB

The National Association of Broadcasters TV Board has asked Nielsen Media Research to delay the rollout of "Local People Meters" in New York.

The new meters will give clients a bunch of new demo data, and Nielsen said they will more accurately reflect viewing patterns. It's critics disagree.

The rollout is scheduled for April 8, but Nielsen has been catching some heat from broadcasters, particularly Fox, and from government types concerned that the new meters undercount African American and Hispanic viewing, particularly in inner city areas. Nielsen said earlier this week, following an attempt by some New York state legislators to block the roll-out, that the sample is accurate and it has no plans to delay the launch of meters in the nation's top market.

The NAB TV Board is not happy with that decision: "We believe it is Nielsen's responsibility to fully address the concerns of its broadcast clients, and all media buyers and sellers, before implementing such a fundamental change to the industry currency. Many broadcasters have serious concerns about the representativeness of of the Local People Meter sample in New York."

"I would assume if they were serious about this they would have called us and asked us to explain," said Nielsen spokesman Jack Loftus, "so I was surprised that they never asked us before they sent us this letter and the press release. I believe there are other agendas involved here," Loftus said without elaboration. The April 8 rollout is still on "to the best of my knowledge," he said.