Friday, June 1, 2018

Spanish-Language Stations Call Nielsen Foul

The Spanish Broadcasting System says it was informed this week by Nielsen of what its calls 'sweeping, retroactive changes' to the radio measurement of Hispanic households.  The company alleges the changes are 'attacks' on Hispanics.

Richard D. Lara, General Counsel for Spanish Broadcasting Systemissued the following statement:
“Earlier this week, Spanish Broadcasting System, the owner and operator of 17 radio stations serving the top Hispanic markets throughout the United States for over 30 years, received disconcerting news from The Nielsen Company.  
Nielsen announced its intention to make sweeping, retroactive changes to its audience measurement service based on an internal decision to remove a number of Hispanic households from its ratings sampling pool. SBS, and other Spanish-language broadcasters, vehemently object and protest such unilateral, and seemingly, discriminatory actions taken by Nielsen, which unfairly and disproportionally exclude Hispanic-listener households from the ratings methodology.  
The restated ratings and rankings reports are, in SBS’s view unreliable, and inaccurately suggest that Spanish-language stations have dropped from top 5 rankings to number 15 or lower. This cannot stand. SBS will continue to faithfully serve its Hispanic-listener communities and will not tolerate unfair and discriminatory attacks on Spanish language broadcasters. We will not stop until Nielson’s prejudicial and discriminatory attacks on U.S.-based Hispanics ceases.”
The statement was issued after removed four households from its L.A. PPM ratings sample and began to reissue seven surveys of ratings. SBS calls “unreliable” the reissued ratings, which caused its “La Raza” KLAX-FM to drop a full share,  and says Nielsen’s actions “unfairly and disproportionately exclude Hispanic-listener households.”

According to MediaPost, Nielsen has historically been under the microscope for its representation of minority viewers in its audience measurement samples, so the removal of some Hispanic household representation in a heavily Hispanic market like Los Angeles merits attention.

For its part, Nielsen says the move was made purely for “quality” reasons and that the households that were removed did not live up to its quality control standards, but that the result is that the representation of Hispanic persons and households in its sample continues to meet its targets.

“The integrity of our data is paramount and that is why Nielsen removed four homes from the Los Angeles PPM panel effective with the April monthly audio currency data,” a Nielsen spokesperson stated. PPM stands for “portable people meter,” which is a portable device panelists carry with them to detect what audio signals they exposed to throughout their day.

“An internal review concluded that these homes did not meet our data quality and integrity standards,” the spokesperson continued, adding, “We conducted an analysis of data from October 2017 to March 2018 and determined that the data for these months will be reissued without these homes included.”

The spokesperson said Nielsen reviewed the composition and characteristics of the balance of its Los Angeles panel and deteremined it meets its standards.

Nielsen’s sample target for Hispanic persons 6 years and older in Los Angeles is 1,192 and its average daily “in-tab” -- or the portion of its sample reporting useable data -- is 1,475.

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