Heuristic Algorithms As A Basis For Intelligent Meters

Paul Donato
Nielsen Media Research


What Are Heuristic Algorithms?

Heuristics is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI), which focuses on systems that learn. This paper explores the role of heuristic algorithms as they might be utilized within today's prompt-based active people meters.

Prompts: One If By Land, Two If By Sea

Currently, there are many different protocols that are in use around the world to, in effect, query a metered household about who is watching a particular television set. Some systems deliver prompts on predetermined and fixed time intervals ranging from nine minutes to over an hour per interval. Other systems prompt respondents to indicate their viewing after an individual or multiplicity of channel change events. Some systems will use flashing green or red LED's as prompts. Some systems will deliver a terse query such as 'Who is watching?'