Passive sensing

The French experience

Corinne Fabre

As a way of measuring TV audiences accurately, peoplemeters are well-established, but rely on 'button pushing'. The French joint industry body CESP has investigated these, and the alternative of 'passive sensing', more thoroughly than anyone else in the world. To general readers outside media research, it is important to see how meticulously any one measurement system may be evaluated, and how even tiny samples of three or four respondents can demonstrate fundamental principles. In this paper, Tlmtric's 'Motivac' passive sensing methodology is seen to be less than perfect.

This paper reports the conclusions of the CESP audit carried out on the 'Motivac', Tlmtric's passive television audience measurement system.

CESP adopted a three point schedule corresponding to the various stages of its assessment. Briefly the schedule comprised assessments of

  • panel recruitment conditions
  • viewer counting procedures
  • viewer identification procedures and conditions of establishing viewer results.