Whether the threat to TV posed by ad-skipping personal video recorders is the monster many perceive it to be – or just kindly old Doc Frankenstein in another of his loopy electromechanical experiments – may soon become apparent.

Nielsen Media Research and Ucentric Systems have teamed to create TV audience measurement software that will track how consumers use Ucentric's multi-TV PVRs. The device not only records programs and viewing usage via a hard disk, it also links and captures the data from TV sets in different rooms throughout a household.

The software will be used to retrieve tuning, recording and playback data from the researcher’s sample households and (as is the case with all Nielsen samples) only with permission from the householder. The software is inactive on Ucentric recorders in non-Nielsen homes.

“By incorporating audience measurement capability into our software, we are working with the entire television industry to help manage the commercial systems around advertising, which is fundamentally important to our partners and the industry overall,” said Ucentric ceo Michael Collette.

Added Nielsen senior vp Scott Brown: “ The goal is to fully credit PVR and other ‘time shifting’ usage by integrating the data into our syndicated reports – the currency for more than $60 billion in advertising spending in the United States.”

Data sourced from: Daily Research News Online; additional content by WARC staff