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US Hispanic broadcaster files suit against Nielsen

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MUMBAI: TV research and ratings giant Nielsen Media Research has suffered a setback in its efforts to introduce its new system, Local People Meter (LPM).

US Hispanic broadcaster Univision Communications has filed a lawsuit against the research firm to block implementation of the service in Los Angeles.

Hispanic groups have been vigorously opposing Nielsen's move to replace the traditional research system with the new LPM by alleging that it shows discrimination against minorities. Nielsen's launch of the LPMs was scheduled for 8 July. Univision Communications' suit is also along the same lines, which says, "LPMs amount to unfair, unlawful and deceptive business practices."

The suit also alleges that Nielsen has used false and misleading advertising with respect to its LPM data. Univision claims that Nielsen's "flawed" data "falsely disparages Univision and its business by under-reporting its actual viewing ratings."

Univision claims that Nielsen's new system discounts young Hispanic Americans and large Hispanic families and also that it overstates Hispanic American households that speak mostly or only English. "As a result, the LPM ratings will materially understate viewing of Spanish-language stations like Univision, and exaggerate viewing of English-language stations, causing irreparable damage to Univision," the company said in a statement.

Nielsen introduced the LPMs in Boston in 2002 and now plans to expand the system to Los Angeles in July. According to the company, it has commissioned a leading Hispanic research group to review a recent study by the National Latino Media Council that found serious flaws in people meters.

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