Return Path Data Lexicon: Frequency


CIMM is taking a pro-active role in advancing new media nomenclature and processes with both its Lexicon(terms and definitions associated with return path data measurement) and Asset Identification Primer (glossary of asset terms). These documents form the basis of this column, which offers a common language for return path data (RPD) nomenclature that can expedite the rollout of the data for its many industry applications.

Starting with this week’s column, we transition from the term “Set-Top-Box data” to the more accurate term of “Return Path data” or RPD. While STB data is RPD, Return Path Data is a more expansive term that includes any data collected within the media platform beyond the physical box such as the television itself, middleware, mobile, remote and internet. As the industry expands to cross-platform measurement, RPD is a better term to represent all the various Big Data sets available in the industry.



There are terms like Reach (or Cume) that have more than one term to describe the same thing (Set-Top-Box Lexicon: Reach Or Cume), while Frequency is an example of one term that has two different definitions, depending on the context. 

Reach and Frequency are often paired in discussions of advertising and viewing measurement. As defined in last week’s column, Reach is the number of unduplicated viewers, sets, set top boxes or homes that have been exposed to a piece of content.

This week we explore frequency. When paired in the discussion of reach, frequency is the number of times each individual target has been exposed. But in another part of the media industry, definition of frequency is quite different. In the electronics realm, frequency is an electromagnetic wave cycle.

That is the fun and the challenge of creating a common industry language.


See also: Reach & Frequency

CIMM DEFINITION : The average number of times the unduplicated homes reached are  exposed to a schedule of content, whether an ad, a program, a video or a schedule of spots.

2 : The number of times a complete electromagnetic wave cycle occurs in a fixed unit of time, usually one second. The rate at which a current alternates, measured in Hertz on a telecommunications medium. (Source: CableLabs)

Please refer to the CIMM Lexicon online at for additional information on these and other terms.

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