What peoplemeters can measure

Date of publication: May 1, 1994

Author: Tony Twyman


Peoplemeters are conventionally described as measuring minute by minute audiences viewing television transmissions. This raises issues of the meaning of “viewing”, the definition of a minute audience and what kind of audiences are to be measured. The paper addresses these issues and the extent to which total peoplemeter systems can measure audiences precisely and accurately, now and in the future, and supply the data which the market needs. This involves reviewing the operation of peoplemeter systems in terms of ability to monitor reception hardware - the respondent task and its accuracy analysis conventions and time units measuring audience reaction achieving representative samples data requirements by type of measurement, type of station and audience sub-groups. The current limitations of peoplemeter systems are assessed. The implications of future broadcasting developments are considered leading to conclusions on requirements for future research systems and the potential role for peoplemeters.

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