Nielsen Media Research plans to raise its coverage of the Chinese TV market almost tenfold in the next eighteen months.

The research giant currently surveys television audiences in eleven cities in China; by the end of next year, it wants to raise this to 100, vastly increasing the data it can offer on Chinese viewing habits.

Such expansion would allow Nielsen to rival current TV research leader CSM – owned by the Central Viewer Survey and Consulting Center and Taylor Nelson Sofres – which charts TV viewing in 72 cities and sixteen provinces.

Nielsen believes the move will hasten the sector’s evolution. “We think this is going to help develop the market by bringing in an additional degree of integrity to the marketplace that should spur and enhance investment,” declared Asia Pacific managing director Forrest Didier.

The investment required for such expansion has not been disclosed, though Nielsen plans to cut costs by using a diary methodology in the new markets as opposed to the portable people meters employed in the existing eleven cities.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff