Nielsen Adding 15,000 TV Audience Meters to 140 Markets

NEW YORK—As part of its efforts to implement universal electronic television measurement in all 210 Local TV markets, Nielsen has announced that it will be installing nearly 15,000 TV audience meters in approximately 7,000 homes across 140 markets. These markets are currently measured by Local TV paper diaries, but these new meters will provide the coverage needed to address the limitations of solely using set-top-box data for audience measurement in Local TV markets.

The TV audience meters will be installed in specific homes, including those viewing through over-the-air broadcast. The households will serve as an in-market viewing source with known demographics and TV viewing information, allowing Nielsen to project audience estimates for over-the-air tuning.

Nielsen will also include viewing from homes across the 140 markets using diaries for measurement that contribute to Nielsen’s National People Meter panel. Nielsen claims that the addition of new metered homes and existing National People Meter homes will ensure that broadcast stations and digital subchannels that are not included in set-top-box data are measured.

The new electronic meters will not contribute to Nielsen’s National TV ratings.

In response to the news from Nielsen, NAB’s Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton said: “NAB is pleased to learn of Nielsen’s planned implementation of electronic meters to more accurately reflect actual viewership of over-the-air broadcast TV stations. We have long believed that over-the-air TV station viewership has been undercounted by measurement companies as multicast ‘D2’ networks gain in popularity and TV antenna sales increase. Today’s Nielsen announcement sends a positive signal about the renewed vitality of local and network broadcast television in an era of pay TV cord-cutting and cord-shaving.”