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

Date of publication: June 15, 1992

Author: Bryan W. Butler


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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