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Univision, Nielsen Reach Deal Amid Ratings Rift

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June 09, 2005|Meg James | Times Staff Writer

Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications Inc. reconciled with Nielsen Media Research on Wednesday, one year after alleging Nielsen's controversial ratings system undercounted Latino viewers.

Nielsen and Univision announced an undisclosed, multimillion-dollar agreement for Nielsen to provide ratings for at least five years for Univision's 34 television stations.

"Univision is one of Nielsen's largest clients, and we are delighted at this extended relationship," Nielsen Chief Executive Susan Whiting said in a statement.

The company sued Nielsen in June 2004, alleging that Nielsen's sample audience for its "local people meter" system underestimated Latino viewership in Los Angeles.

Univision asked a judge to block the rolling out of the audience-measurement system, arguing that it would hurt Univision's ratings, thus jeopardizing advertising revenue. The judge declined to intervene.

Century City-based Univision dropped the lawsuit in late November and has since been working with Nielsen to improve its methodology and include more Spanish-speaking Latinos in its sample audience.

Whiting said her company "continues to invest significant resources" to make sure that Latinos and "all other ethnic audiences are fairly represented in our TV ratings."

Univision's senior vice president for research, Ceril Shagrin, said the company was encouraged by Nielsen's commitments to include more Spanish-speaking Latinos. Shagrin added that the company had been working with Nielsen on a number of initiatives over the last several months.

Univision shares closed up 44 cents at $27.33.

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