NEW YORK, NY–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–May 10, 2004–Nielsen Media Research announced today that it has contracted with University of Southern California’s Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI), the nation’s premier independent Latino policy research organization, to review the findings of the National Hispanic Media Council’s (NHMC) Latino Television Study. That study, which questioned Nielsen’s measurement of Latino viewers, was conducted by the firm of Rincon & Associates and has generated controversy regarding both its methodology and results.
The TRPI team that will review the Rincon survey includes Dr. Louis DeSipio, an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine, who is one of the authors of TRPI’s benchmark studies on Latino television viewing. Dr. Jongho Lee, director of TRPI’s Survey Research, and Dr. Rodolfo de la Garza, a professor at Columbia University and vice president of Research at TRPI, will also participate in the audit.
“Having measured audiences for more than a half century, Nielsen is committed to accuracy in all its measurements,” said Susan Whiting, President and CEO of Nielsen Media Research. “After we reviewed the Rincon study, we had serious questions regarding its objectivity, reliability and methodology. Accordingly, we sought an independent third-party analysis from nationally known scholars to review and independently audit the NHMC study.”
Some policy-makers have cited the Rincon study as a reason for delaying the launch of Nielsen’s Local People Meters in New York City and other major markets. Nielsen has attempted to discuss its concerns about the survey’s methodology with Rincon, but Rincon has refused to meet or cancelled scheduled meetings.
The results of the Rincon study have been called into question for a number of reasons:
— Rincon conducted a telephone survey of Latinos living in only four U.S. cities — Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Antonio. This is not a representative sample of Latino households in the entire U.S. Conclusions from this limited sample cannot claim to represent the entire Latino population.
— Rincon relied on “listed” telephone numbers in these markets, thus substantially excluding from the survey Latinos with unlisted telephones or no telephones.
— Rincon managed to interview only a few of the Latinos they tried to contact. Fewer than one in nine Latinos identified for sampling by Rincon agreed to participate in the first wave of the telephone survey; only one in 50 participated in the second and third waves of interviews.
“Nielsen’s number one priority is to ensure we provide fair and accurate accounting of all television audiences,” added Whiting. “It is critical to Nielsen that the quality of our ratings are beyond reproach, and we will work with Rincon or any other organization that is interested in seeking an unbiased understanding of Latino TV viewing behavior.”
Nielsen and the Latino Community
Nielsen has a solid history of working with Latino communities to ensure they are correctly counted in its television ratings.
Since 1992, Nielsen has used the internationally recognized People Meter technology to measure Latino TV viewing of both English- and Spanish-language media at the national level for its Latino ratings service. At the same time, the company has used its People Meter technology locally to measure Latino audiences in Los Angeles.
Nielsen also maintains separate Latino samples in 19 local markets with significant Latino populations as a service to Spanish-Language media. To make certain that Latinos at all levels of assimilation are represented accurately in its samples, Nielsen has created “Language Spoken in the Home” estimates that are weighted so that both Spanish speakers and English speakers are represented fairly.
The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute
Founded in 1985, the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute advances critical, insightful thinking on key issues affecting Latino communities through objective, policy-relevant research, and its implications, for the betterment of the nation. It is one of the leading organizations measuring the attitudes of the nation’s diverse Latino populations on a broad range of issues. Through its affiliation with the research unit of the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning and Development, and its association with the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University, TRPI has access to a network of nationally recognized scholars who carry out an array of research projects under its direction.
The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute has undertaken ground breaking work in the area of Latinos and the Entertainment industry, most notably through TRPI’s studies: Latinos: Missing in Action, which focused on Latino portrayal on Broadcast Network Television; and Talking Back to Television: Latinos Discuss How Television Portrays Them and the Quality of Programming Options, which reported on the Latino community’s opinion of the content provided by broadcast television.
For Nielsen Media Research
Jack Loftus, 646-654-8360
Forrest Beanum, 323-466-3445
Hal Dash, 323-466-3445