Nielsen Trying to Adapt to New Media Formats

Jun 25th, 2006 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, Digital Music, Podcasting Statistics, Video Podcasts

Nielsen Media Research has announced ambitious plans to support electronic measurement of media use across all platforms, including MP3 players, cellphones, online video and out-of-home TV viewing. The “Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement” (A2/M2) initiative will be based on tracking via portable electronic measurement tools and its Nielsen/NetRatings software.

Nielsen plans to start this summer installing and testing software meters with Nielsen/NetRatings technology on the PCs and laptops of small groups of its People Meter sample. It has set a goal of fully deploying the system in the 2007-2008 broadcast season.

Nielsen also announced that paper diaries were on their way out. Nielsen will expand its local people meter service beyond the top 10 markets it’s currently deployed, adding 15 more markets to include all of the top 25 markets. It estimates by the time that is completed its local people meter samples will represent half the U.S. population. Nielsen will also try to replace the paper diary it uses in smaller markets with some sort of electronic meter or at least internet diaries, with the method varying depending on size of the market.”These diaries were designed years ago to handle a couple network affiliates and maybe an independent,” said Sharianne Brill, Carat’s VP-director of programming services. “They weren’t designed for a multichannel environment and they don’t work in one.”

Nielsen will also begin measuring out-of-home viewing in bars, restaurants, hotels and airports. It will begin this fall to test two “personal meters” — one that places metering technology in cellphones, and another that resembles an MP3 player. The meters work by collecting audio signatures, which means programmers aren’t required to encode their content but rather Nielsen matches audio snippets of the content. Nielsen plans to offer the two devices to its panelists, allowing them to choose based on their personal preference.

Portable Media Player Tracking

Nielsen is building the foundation to measure television content that is migrating to new portable media platforms – including cell phones, iPod, portable game players and handheld computers.

The company is continuing engineering work to create “Solo Meters” that can be used with any portable media system. For platforms that use a wireless, Bluetooth connection, Nielsen is developing a very small wireless meter that would passively listen to communication between mated devices. For systems that are wired, Nielsen is building a diminutive “in-line” meter that would be physically inserted between the device and its earphones.

Both metering solutions would be “device-neutral” to work with a wide variety of personal media platforms without having to be customized for specific devices. They also would identify viewing by collecting audio signatures. Development of the systems starts this summer and functional prototypes would be available within six to 12 months, so that testing could begin by the latter part of next year.

As Nielsen pursues these initiatives, it also is implementing a comprehensive research plan to track consumer adoption and usage of a wide array of portable media devices, including the creation of a 400-person panel of iPod users by the end of 2006.

via Nielsen

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