It has been long rumored that Nielsen would do something to get more involved in out-of-home media measurement, and now it looks as if that prediction is coming true. According to this article in the Detroit News Online, Nielsen Media Research:
said Wednesday it will roll out new technology during the next few years to measure viewing over the Internet, on cell phones and on TV sets outside of the home.Just what form these meters will take hasn't been mentioned, but there have been a number of technology pilots that utilize different sensors to analyze sound and video images, monitor store traffic, etc. that could be tapped here.
[The company] said the technology supplements its recent effort to figure the use of digital video recorders in its weekly TV ratings.
Television's entire economic system of advertising prices is based on Nielsen's ratings, and its customers have long grumbled that the company hasn't kept up with technology that is changing the way people are watching TV.
Nielsen said that this summer it will begin testing software meters on personal and home computers of participating families, designed to measure the video and audio they are watching via the Internet. The company said its goal is to have accurate readings of how many people are watching television content this way by the 2007-08 season.
The company said that this fall it will also begin testing two separate "go meters," one designed to measure viewing of video on cellular phones, and the other to keep track of viewing outside of the home in bars, restaurants, hotels and elsewhere.