Future technology impact on broadcast audience research data collection

Date of publication: June 15, 1992

Company: Nielsen


In the United States, Nielsen collects viewing information daily using over 20 audience measurement systems installed in national, local and single source household panels. The fundamental product of these systems is television viewing information used to calculate ratings. A fundamental aspect of the broadcast audience research business is that changes in the viewing environment require constant updating of the audience measurement systems which are used to collect information. This paper will focus on the upcoming technology changes which will impact broadcast audience research in the United States. Impressive new technology is under development for the media delivery systems used to provide programming to viewers. The predominant technology of the future is video compression. Other advancements such as fiber optics and HDTV will also be important developments. A growing issue is the consumer interface used in audience measurement systems. Within the industry, there is a call for totally passive systems, requiring no conscious participation by household panel members. In the future, there are also new technologies which can be used by research companies. Significant computing power can be cost effectively deployed within a household to support data collection. A review of the technology used in today's measurement systems, as well as describing requirements for systems of the future, will be presented.

William L. Thomas


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