Nielsen Media Research has announced the rollout schedule for introducing its People Meter ratings service in America’s major urban areas.

The technology, developed back in the mid-80s by British research group AGB, will enable continuous overnight demographic ratings in the nation’s top ten TV markets – between them accounting for 32 million (or 30%) of all US television households and over $8 billion (€7.25bn; £4.98bn) in TV adspend.

First beneficiaries of the new service in 2004 will be the conurbations of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. In the following year, the rollout will continue through Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, moving on to Atlanta in 2005.

The People Meters, originally so branded by AGB, will supersede the manual meter-diary measurement system presently used in the top ten markets, enabling media executives on both sides of the fence to buy and sell commercial time on the basis of daily data – instead of waiting, as now, for the sweeps months.

Crows Nielsen [which opposed People Meters tooth and nail when AGB attempted unsuccessfully to introduce them stateside fifteen years ago]: “These initiatives reflect Nielsen Media Research’s commitment to its clients that the television industry will always be the best-measured medium of audience delivery.”

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