The End of National TV and Local TV Measurement Siloes

There have always been separate local and national TV samples in television measurement—whether from Nielsen, Arbitron, or comScore. And, while the results of the two samples differed—weight-averaging local Nielsen NSI ratings don’t usually match national Nielsen NTI ratings—the industry accepted the separation of the two samples. Audience targeting is a powerful tool, but while its past has been siloed, its future must leverage local data into national.

Behind the Divide
So, you might be thinking: If the future is combined data, why the separation to begin with? The reasoning is baked into the history of television measurement. Back in the 1950s, radio measurement was fitted to the new technology of television. “Local samples were developed in the 1950s to serve a specific need, namely to measure 200+ individual markets in an affordable way (via paper diaries) as TV spread across the nation,” explains Tim Brooks, author and television historian. To fully compete with Arbitron, Nielsen launched a national sample of household meters, a more expensive venture than diaries (which were still used to supply national demographics), according to Brooks. As the technology advanced, people meters were introduced in 1987.

Read the full article on the Videa blog.

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