Quality methods, quality results!

Date of publication: May 1, 1994


For over thirty years, the U.S. Committee on Nationwide Television Audience Measurement (CONTAM) has engaged in methodological research. Its purpose has been to understand and improve television audience measurement, in order to increase the accuracy, reliability and utility of ratings research. Specific projects have included benchmark studies, monitoring of procedures and analyses of audience data. At the June 1992 E.S.O.M.A.R./A.R.F. Worldwide Broadcast Audience Research Symposium, a report was provided on CONTAM's methodological mission up to that time. Specifically, the commitments, lessons and issues for the future of television measurement were discussed. This paper will describe the effect of activities over the past two years toward achieving greater understanding and improvement. In particular, CONTAM's SMART (Systems for Measuring and Reporting Television) initiative will be explained in terms of the need, the vision and the process behind an independent TV ratings laboratory to be created and implemented by SRI (Statistical Research, Inc.). Several specific projects have already been completed. These include hardware and computer systems development, as well as a prototype laboratory. The plan for extending each of these initiatives and the conceptual framework for the total effort will also be described. With an industry-wide commitment to excellence, improvement and progress toward enhancing the quality of television ratings measurement can most assuredly be made.

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