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"African American-Themed Shows Are Highly Ranked By Local People Meters In D.C. and Phili"

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African Americans Drawn to Themed Programming

NEW YORK, June 23 - Nielsen Media Research said that a review of May 2005 viewing in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia showed that African American-themed programming ranks higher among African Americans measured in Local People Meter (LPM) samples than in set meter samples.

Local People Meters are an advanced system of meters that electronically and continuously record demographic viewing in sample homes. Nielsen is introducing them in the top ten markets, replacing the previous system of paper diaries and set meters.

Critics of LPMs have cited lower ratings among programs with predominant African-American casts and themes as a justification for opposing the introduction of a more accurate ratings system. But comparing the rankings of these programs among African American viewers in the only two markets where the LPM and meter/diary systems were operating side by side in May shows that African American-themed shows more than hold their own among African American audiences under LPMs.

Compared to the previous set meter samples, the LPM samples in these markets are larger, with more African American households. The composition of LPM samples also more closely represent the demographic composition of the communities they are measuring. Because of these factors, the LPM system is more accurate and allows Nielsen to capture a wider range and diversity of programming choices. The greater accuracy of local people meters also allows for better comparisons of how people watch television in different markets.

In Philadelphia, six of the ten most watched shows by African Americans measured by LPMs were African American-themed, compared to only two measured by the meter/diary system -
(see for additional details):

Top Shows For African American Viewers - May 2005
(7am-1am; African American HH Ratings)

Rank Set Meter LPM
1 CSI Girlfriends*
2 CSI-Miami Half & Half*
3 Without a Trace America's Next Top Model
4 Girlfriends* American Idol
5 Half & Half* One on One*
6 Law and Order Eve*
7 Action News (11 p.m) Kevin Hill*
8 ABC News Sunday Cuts*
9 ABC World News Without a Trace
10 Primetime Live Special CSI Miami
(On American Idol)

*African American themed programming

In Washington, D.C., three of the 30 most-watched shows among African Americans measured by LPMs were African American-themed (Girlfriends #9, Half & Half #19, and The Parkers #29), compared to two out of the top 30 measured by set meters (Girlfriends #15, and Half & Half #21). As measured by set meters, no African American-themed shows appeared in the top ten most watched shows; using LPMs, one of the ten most-watched shows by African Americans had African American themes:

Washington, DC
Top Shows For African American Viewers - May 2005
(7a-1a; African American HH Ratings)

Rank Set Meter LPM
1 American Idol (Tu) American Idol (wed)
2 American Idol (wed) American Idol (Tu)
3 House Primetime Live Special
4 CSI House
5 Without a Trace NBA Playoffs (Sat)
6 CSI SU SPC Desperate Housewives
7 Law and Order America's Top Model
8 CSI Miami Law & Order CI
9 Desperate Housewives Girlfriends*
10 Primetime Live Special Law & Order SVU
(On American Idol)

*African American themed programming

About Nielsen Media Research
Nielsen Media Research is the world's leading provider of television audience measurement and advertising information services. Nielsen Media Research is part of VNU Media Measurement & Information, a global leader in information services for the media and entertainment industries. For more information, please visit the VNU website at

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