The development of a non-telephone peoplemeter for third world environments

Date of publication: June 15, 1992

Author: Bryan W. Butler

Abstract:

While most countries entering the peoplemeter era are First World countries with near universal telephone ownership, this is not always the case. Even where telephone ownership is high, a portion of the TV universe may be overlooked because of the lack of telephone ownership. To this end IBIS, in conjunction with its technical developers, Natech, worked on a meter which circumvents the problem of imperfect telephone penetration. In South Africa, this allowed coverage of the TV universe to increase from an initial 50% with conventional meter technology, to around 80% with this new development. In the process of planning for and installing some 500 of these meters, a number of important lessons were learned: -We learned how to use non-verbal on-screen prompts to improve communication with the sample which includes 7 different home languages and varying degrees of literacy. - TV penetration is not high in some of these communities and it was necessary to simplify visitor entry by developing an on-screen matrix. - We needed a meter which would have a life of at least 5 years. The meter was built, therefore, with a daisy chain construction and open interfaces. -Finally, we learned many lessons on how to communicate and how to counsel households who have no telephone.

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