Audience Measurement

Audience measurement is the process of gathering and analysing data about the individuals who consume advertising content across various media platforms, such as digital or online platforms, TV shows, radio programs, magazines and newspapers. The aim of audience measurement is to understand the size, demographics, behaviours, and preferences of the audience for a specific media outlet or advertising campaign.

Audience measurement data is used by media owners, publishers, advertisers, and marketers to make informed decisions about content creation, distribution, and advertising strategies. It is also used by media owners and publishers to set advertising rates.

This information is typically collected through surveys, audience panels, and digital tracking technologies.

People Meter

TV viewership is typically measured by means of a a small electronic device hooked to the TV, called the people meter. The device records and reports which programme is being watched when the TV is switched on. It is accompanied with a remote control with push buttons allotted to each member of the household, so that individuals may identify themselves when they are viewing the TV.

Passive People Meter

The key disadvantage of the people meter is that it involves the viewer’s proactive involvement, though to a much lesser extent than the traditional diary method. Newer audience measurement methods are based on hypersonic facial recognition technologies. These solutions combine biometric authentication and neural network processing to passively detect and identify viewers.

Similar to the identification method used by smartphones, passive people meters identify individuals based on the spacing and contour of eyes, nose, ears, lips, chin and other facial features.

The incorporation of facial recognition technology into TVs started around 2012. These smart devices, which come with built-in camera and facial and voice recognition software, can recognize individuals, and turn on the channels and web applications that they like. The potential to apply this technology to track audiences more accurately and at lower costs, has existed ever since.

Portable People Meter

The portable people meter (PPM) is the ratings currency used for measuring audio. PPM panellists carry pager-like devices that record the audio they listen to throughout the day, providing comprehensive and accurate data on audience listening habits.

Developed by Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio), the PPM measures audiences exposed or listening to the wide array of media channels including radio and television. It detects hidden audio tones within a network’s audio stream, logging each time it finds such a signal. These masked audio tones are subliminally inserted into the audio feed via an encoder.

PPM meters use cellular telephone technology to transmit the data to the research agency’s servers.

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