European reading of TV audiences

Date of publication: September 1, 1989

Company: Procter & Gamble

Author: Thomas Neumann


Data on TV audiences are required by TV stations, advertisers, and the public. The advent of trans-frontier multi-country TV stations in the past few years had illustrated this on a European basis. The answer to this need was PETAR (Pan-European Television Audience Research), a multi-country four-week diary study organized by the major satellite TV stations and the associations of advertising agencies and advertisers. PETAR is a good case study for the challenges of a European study. Both, the organizations ordering the research (TV stations), the organizations executing the research (market research institutes), and the organizations using the results (advertisers and advertising agencies as well as TV stations) come from different countries with different backgrounds and different habits. All of them had to be aligned. PETAR has shown that cooperation is possible as soon as there is a climate of trust and openess, the willingness to listen to each other, and the time to understand the other side. PETAR suffers from the shortcomings of all diary studies in audience measurement and, even more important, PETAR covers the universe of cable homes only rather than of all European TV homes. The ability to read audience data in all homes on a comparable basis in all of Europe is the necessary next step after PETAR. There are people meter panels in most countries, but they differ in many characteristics. Harmonization of TV audience measurement via the set-up of a completely new panel is less attractive than a process by which the existing meter panels come together more and more closely.

Thomas Neumann


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