Almost five million TV-watching students at four-year colleges – around 55% of the estimated national student population – eyeball screens in locations unmeasured by Nielsen Media Research, claims a study sponsored by Disney-owned cable sports network ESPN.

Conducted April 4 through May 1 this year, the survey reveals that the average college student spends 14.5 hours weekly watching TV – 37% of this time being outside the home. Of this, the majority (90%) is within the students’ room at college or in off-campus accommodation.

The study’s finding may well be a catalyst in persuading Nielsen to accelerate its investigation into including student premises in its daily viewing data [WAMN: 04-Sep-02] – indeed this was probably ESPN’s prime intention in commissioning the research.

But according to one unnamed Nielsen staffer: “Money has always been a big obstacle. Metering more locations is very expensive, and getting enough networks to pay for it isn’t easy.”

As ever, the tune will be called by those willing to pay the piper – and neither broadcasters nor agencies nor clients are standing in line for that privilege.

Data sourced from: AdWeek.com; additional content by WARC staff