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Buying Power report: Blacks spend as economy grows
New 16th edition shows $507 bil in spending

The finding comes from the 16th annual edition of "The Buying Power of Black America" report. In 2009, black households spent an estimated $507 billion in 27 product and services categories. ...

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What the sale of Arbitron to Nielsen means to Urban radio stations

(December 18, 2012) In yesterday's announcement of plans to acquire Arbitron, Nielsen executives touted advantages the added capabilities could have on its global business. The could also have a significant impact on Urban formatted radio stations and Black-owned broadcast outlets.

Arbitron has found itself in a number of long standing legal disputes over its sampling of Black and Hispanic audiences. These grievances came to a head when the ratings measurement company introduced its Personal People Meter and once high-rated Urban stations fell from dominance in major markets.

In response to a challenge by the PPM Coalition (consisting of Black and Hispanic broadcasters), Arbitron was asked in 2007 by Congress to justify its measurement techniques and the undercounting of minority listeners. The Media Ratings Council weighed in on the issue when it refused to certify Arbitron's methods in all of its markets.

A lawsuit was issued by the Attorneys General of New York and New Jersey against Arbitron's measurement of Black and Hispanic listeners in 2008. The following year a settlement was reached in which Arbitron paid $260,000 for fraud and illegality, $100,000 to minority trade associations to support minority radio and $25,000 for an ad campaign promoting minority radio.

Additional suits were brought by the Attorneys General of Florida and California in which settlements and payments were reached on Arbitron's admission of undercounting minority listeners.

News of the acquisition by Nielsen was viewed with optimism by those who have challenged Arbitron's methods and practices in past years.  

"Nielsen's acquisition of Arbitron is welcome news for multicultural entrepreneurs, programmers and audiences," said David Honig, President of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. "Nielsen has unparalleled expertise in accurately measuring multicultural viewership, demographics, and consumer trends such as audience engagement.  As audio, video and print content transitions to IP, it's reassuring that the leading audience measurement company has such an outstanding record of accurately and thoroughly measuring multicultural populations across several technologies."

Jim Winston, Executive Director of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, stated, "NABOB is pleased to hear about the planned merger of Nielsen and Arbitron.  NABOB has a good relationship with both companies, and the combination of the companies could provide better and more extensive audience measurement benefits to both the television and radio industries." 

"We are concerned that such mergers often result in rate increases to customers, and we would not want to see that happen," Winston added. "We are cautiously optimistic that this will be very good news for the television and radio industries."

Nielsen has worked extensively over the past five years to strengthen its relationship with, and expertise among multicultural markets. It has created external advisory councils representing communities of color, instituted a minority supplier development initiative, and reached out to Black, Hispanic and Asian consumers through numerous public relations efforts. In the past two years, it has introduced widely touted reports on the economic impact of these consumers to corporation's bottom line.

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