With a fast growing digital television reception, the Netherlands faces an increase in the supply of digital channels to be included in the audience measurement. The total penetration of digital reception increased from 17.2% in the second half of 2005 to 42.8% in the second half 2008. Faced with these rapid changes, SKO, the JIC in charge of the television audience measurement in the Netherlands, decided to start measuring 43 digital, thematic channels in a pilot project since August 2008.The pilot has been held within the Dutch TAM and has help us clarifying whether all the channels are measurable in a technical sense, by using audio channel identification techniques (EAM). The main question that rose from our results is: when is a channel reliably measured? This is a central question, not only for television audiences but also for all scattered markets in the digital era. Our paper briefly reviews the techniques can be used for the measurement of digital television and focus on a major challenge, how to be able to reliably report on this large (and still growing) number of channels. In this context, traditional approaches for reporting audiences can be proven insufficient or economically not viable (as would be to have larger panel sizes). In order to deal with issues related to limited audiences, SKO shifts to reports based on reliable audience reach, rather than focussing on reporting ratings. The new reliability measure uses non standard methods to construct confidence intervals for proportions. We will be presenting our first results in our paper and at the WM3 conference.
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