Audience measurement

Audience measurement

Audience measurement measuring how many people are in an audience, usually in relation to radio listenership and television viewership, but also newspaper and magazine readership, and increasingly, usage of websites. It often also includes demographic and sometimes psychographic information, to help broadcasters and advertisers determine "who" is listening, rather than just how many. This broader meaning is called audience research.

Measurements are broken-down by media market, which for the most part corresponds to metropolitan areas, both large and small.



The diary was the first and until recently the only method of recording information. However, this is prone to mistakes and forgetfulness, as well as subjectivity. Data is also collected down to the level of listener opinion of individual songs, cross referenced against their age, race, and economic status in listening sessions sponsored by oldies and mix formatted stations.


More recently, technology has been used to track listening and viewing habits. Arbitron's Portable People Meter uses a microphone to pick up and record subaudible tones embedded in broadcasts by an encoder at each station or network. It has even been used to track in-store radio.


There are certain software applications being developed to monitor cable TV operators with full passive and permissive viewer measurement functionality to monitor TV channel ratings. The system tracks every time the channel is changed and records it accordingly. It allows what was being viewed at the time and which channel the viewer changed to. This information allows operators, broadcasters and advertising media to monitor audience TV usage habits and will provide invaluable rating and viewing information. The system also has additional information captured includes interactive application-specific events, viewer information events, diagnostic events and even configuration update events.

New media

Nielsen//NetRatings measures Internet and digital media audiences through a telephone and Internet survey. Nielsen BuzzMetrics measures consumer-generated media. Other companies collecting information on internet usage include comScore and Hitwise, who measure hits on internet pages. TruMedia provides real-time audience data including size, attention span and demographics by using Video Analytics technology to automatically detect, track and classify viewers watching digital displays.

Ratings point

Ratings point is a measure of viewership of a particular television program.

One single television ratings point (Rtg or TVR) represents 1% of viewers in the surveyed area in a given minute. As of 2004, there are an estimated 109.6 million television households in the USA. Thus, a single national household ratings point represents 1%, or 1,096,000 households for the 2004-05 season. When used for the broadcast of a program, the average rating across the duration of the show is typically given. Ratings points are often used for specific demographics rather than just households. For example a ratings point among the key 18-49 year olds demographic is equivalent to 1% of all 18-49 year olds in the country.

A Rtg / TVR is different from a share point in that it is the percentage of all possible viewers, while a share point is 1% of all viewers watching television at the time. Hence the share of a broadcast is often significantly higher than the rating, especially at times when overall TV viewing is low.


Gross rating points (GRPs) / Target Rating Points (TRPs) are chiefly used to measure the performance of TV-based advertising campaigns, and are the sum of the TVRs of each commercial spot within the campaign. An ad campaign might require a certain number of GRPs (TRPs) among a particular demographic across the duration of the campaign. The GRP (TRP) of a campaign is equal to the percentage of people who saw any of the spots, multiplied by the average number of spots that these viewers saw.


Diary-based radio ratings in the U.S. may inflate listenership, because it is only measured in 15-minute increments. Listening at any time during a quarter-hour counts as listening for the entire duration, even if the actual time was just for a song or two.

The process of surveying listeners for their preferences has also been criticised for its lack of flexibility. Listeners complain that modern radio lacks variety and depth but the measurement methods only facilitate further refinement of already minutely programmed formats rather than the overhaul that many listeners are asking for. Radio, particularly in the United States, is where listeners hear their old favorites rather than are exposed to new music. Data obtained by some audience measurement methods is detailed to individual songs and how they are reacted to by each age, racial, and economic group the station is seeking to attract. This statistical approach leads to highly recognizable songs (such as those from the Beatles) which score well with a cross section of listeners. [cite book | last = Fisher | first = Marc | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Something in the Air | publisher = Random House | date = | location = | pages = 271-277 | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 978-0-375-50907-0 ]

Measurement Companies

*In Australia, TV ratings are collected by three main organizations. OzTAM serves metropolitan areas, Regional TAM serves regional areas serviced by three commercial networks, and Nielsen Media Research Australia handles for regional areas serviced by two commercial networks. Ratings are collected over 40 weeks of the year, with a two-week break over Easter and 10 weeks over summer.
*In Bosnia and Herzegovina, MARECO INDEX BOSNIA Member of Gallup International & Associate of TNS is the provider of TAM ratings (TV Meters). This company also provides Radio & Print Measurement data (Diary).
*In Brazil, IBOPE provides measurement services for TV.
*The provider of Bulgarian TAM ratings is TNS TV PLAN; this company uses TV meters.
*In Canada, Nielsen Media Research measures TV, and CognoVision Solutions Inc. provides measurement services for Digital Signage.
*Finnpanel measures both radio and TV in Finland.
*In India, the Television Rating Point (TRP) is used by television advertisers to monitor the most widely watched TV programs, based on which, the AD rate for a program is decided. This is the ranking list of popular TV programs released by INTAM (Indian Television Audience Measurement) every week. INTAM is the electronic rating agency in India. 'People meters' are installed in sample homes. These electronic gadgets continuously record data about the channels watched by family members. The agency prepares national data on the basis of its sample homes' readings. Based on the ranking list of the last several years, programs from the broadcasters SUN TV and Star Plus are in the top rank at all levels. []
*In Japan Video Research handles radio and TV measurement.
*In the Philippines, AGB-Nielsen Media Research monitors the ratings through panel homes installed with TV meters to be registered in the computer.
*In Pakistan TV audience measurement is done by Gallup BRB.
*In the UK, TV measurement is handled by BARB via a metered panel and radio by RAJAR, using a diary system. The NRS (National Readership Survey) measures newspaper and magazine readership.
*In the United States, TV measurement is done by Nielsen Media Research, radio by Arbitron and digital signage by TruMedia.


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