Learning objectives: The Ratings Business -- Understand how and why Arbitron, Nielson, and their competitors collect and use data on audiences for local, network, and syndicated clients
Collecting Data -- Describe different methods of gathering ratings data: diaries, passive meters, people meters, coincidentals, recall, personal interviews
Samples -- Comprehend how sampling works, and understand sampling error, response rate, and sampling deficiencies
Determining Ratings and Shares -- Describe market delineation, units of measure, how ratings, HUT, and shares are derived, and meaning of cume and demographics
Use and Abuse of Ratings -- Understand industry self-policing measures, the reliability and validity of ratings, and problems with rating such as hyping
Broadcast Audiences -- Discern who makes up electronic media audiences and how knowledge about audiences affects what media do.
Remote Controls -- Describe remote control device impact on viewing habits
Cable Audiences -- Discern who makes up cable audiences, how cable ratings are reported, and what viewing patterns exist for cable programs
Research on VCRs -- Comprehend how VCRs have changed audiences and affected ratings gathered for electronic media
Internet Use -- Understand how audiences accessing Internet sites may be measured as the medium becomes more important in advertising
Attitudinal Research -- Describe how researchers try to find out people's subjective reactions, such as what people like and dislike
Ratings Business There are two ratings firms that dominate TV and radio ratings research:
Arbitron -- left TV and cable ratings in 1994, now dominates radio ratings
A.C. Nielson – left radio ratings in 1964, now the sole provider of ratings research in TV and cable, except for:
Companies like Statistical Research, Inc (SRI), which do specialized and more costly research (though Nielson and Arbitron are very costly, as well)
Revenues -- derived from subscribers: broadcast and cable networks, broadcast stations, ad agencies, syndicators. Station rates vary based on station revenue. Costs may be as high as a million dollars a year.