MediaPost’s Media Daily News

by Joe Mandese

A group backed by millions of dollars in funding from TV ratings giant Nielsen Media Research Friday invited other research companies to propose new methods for measuring television audiences based on viewing data from digital set-top boxes, an approach that would compete with Nielsen’s core methods for TV audience measurement. The move comes as many in the industry, especially advertisers and agencies, are beginning to look past traditional survey-based methods of TV audience measurement, to see if data based on actually TV tuning behavior might not be a better way of determining TV advertising effectiveness.

Several research companies, including Nielsen and one of its chief rivals, TNS Media Research, have begun developing such systems, and some big media shops have begun dabbling with the data. Publicis’ Starcom MediaVest Group, in particular, has begun licensing data from some of the systems that have been commercially deployed, and claims to be gleaning early marketplace insights that give its clients a competitive advantage over advertisers who continue to rely on old school methods based on samples of audiences reporting viewing via meters or paper and pencil diaries.

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