US television ratings provider Nielsen Media Research has unveiled a raft of plans for electronic measurement of TV watching, wherever and however it is viewed.
The company has pledged to modernize its methods, providing panelists with portable 'solo meters' that can monitor TV viewing via cellphones and iPods.
It also seeks to eliminate its paper diary system by 2011 and roll out its electronic 'people meter' across all markets.
The A2/M2 manifesto is the VNU unit's response to the increasing diversification of TV viewing, including the rapid expansion of internet video streaming.
Nielsen ceo Susan Whiting says the modernization "is the result of extensive consultation with clients, who told us clearly that we should 'follow the video'."
She adds: "A2/M2 recognizes there is no one-size-fits all approach to measuring television, while launching the most extensive research and testing program in the company's history."
Nielsen will begin rolling out technology to measure ratings for programs streamed on the internet this summer and hopes to fully deploy it for the 2007/2008 TV season.
The networks welcome the advances. Comments Mike Mellon, svp of research at ABC: "We will finally start getting credit for an awful lot of eyeballs that aren't getting counted."
Broadcasters hope the new methopdology will provide ammunition to increase commercials airtime rates.
Adds Brad Adgate, from ad buyer Horizon Media: "What marketers really want is some sort of single-source measurement, to find out what a day in the life of a media consumer is: what they're watching on cellphones, what they are watching on iPods, what they are watching on linear TV and when they are watching."
Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff