Television Rating Accreditation

For more than 40 years, the Media Rating Council (MRC), an industry association charged with establishing best practices in developing ratings systems, has provided a venue for companies and their clients to work together to determine the most effective ways to measure television, radio and other audiences. This process has worked independent of government intervention, but some seek to alter the self-regulation process in favor of increased governmental regulation of the field.

AAF Position
The AAF believes in the power of self-regulation. We oppose legislation designed to add unneeded government oversight to television rating accreditation because it would slow innovation to a crawl and undermine the self-regulation process. New systems and technologies, such as digital video recorders, video on demand and local people meters, would remain without a suitable benchmarking method until government regulators and companies agree to acceptable standards—a process that could take years.

Some entities question the accuracy of television ratings and want to see providers of ratings held more accountable for the products they offer, even if it means slowing innovation in ratings measurement.

S. 1372: Fairness, Accuracy, Inclusivity and Responsiveness in Ratings Act of 2005 (FAIR Ratings Act). Introduced by Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., July 1, 2005. This measure would require accreditation of all television ratings measurement systems by the MRC before a company can provide or sell ratings information. This bill has three co-sponsors, but no hearings have been held or scheduled.

H.R. 3298: Television Viewer Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Introduced by Rep. Fossella, R-N.Y. This bill prevents the sale or dissemination of ratings data by any service not accredited by the MRC. This bill has 24 co-sponsors, but no hearings have been held or scheduled.

Last updated: March 2006

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