No Challenge From DOJ On MRC Proposal
May 12, 2008 at 12:48 PM (PT)
The Department of Justice will not challenge a proposal by the MEDIA RATINGS COUNCIL relating to the auditing and accrediting of products that measure the size and demographics of an audience. The Department said that the proposed change is not likely to harm competition, and that a voluntary, precommercialization audit and accreditation of audience measurement products has the potential to benefit users by providing assurances that the products are valid, reliable and effective. MRC’s proposal affects only those AMPs, known as Currency AMPs, that are widely used and relied upon to determine the financial value of advertising.
The Department’s position was stated in a business review letter from THOMAS O. BARNETT, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division, to counsel for MRC.
MRC requested a business review letter from the Antitrust Division expressing its enforcement intentions with respect to a proposed change to its current audit and accreditation process. MRC seeks to make explicit its preference that rating services seeking to replace one of their Currency AMPs obtain accreditation of the new product, and at a minimum submit impact data and undergo an independent audit, prior to commercialization.
"Auditing and accrediting activities by associations of customers do not necessarily raise antitrust issues," BARNETT said in the letter. "In fact, with appropriate safeguards, auditing and accrediting activities can provide valuable, unbiased information to the marketplace."