Nielsen To Use PPMs For Local TV Ratings, Will Include Out-Of-Home Viewing

Nielsen this morning announced a plan to begin introducing portable people meter (PPM) measurement to its local market TV ratings service for both “in-home” and “out-of-home” viewing in 2017.

Nielsen acquired the PPM methodology as part of its acquisition of Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio) in 2013. The method, which equips individual panelists with a personal meter they carry with them throughout the day, to date has been used for “audio” ratings.

Nielsen also agreed to license the PPM technology to media measurement rival comScore for eight years as part of a consent decree related to acquiring Arbitron.

Nielsen said the 2017 rollout for TV audience measurement is part of an ongoing plan to upgrade and overahaul its TV measurement, especially for local market TV ratings.

Nielsen did not disclose exactly how the PPM sample would be apportioned between TV and audio measurement, but said its local TV ratings would “now include viewing from over 75,000 PPM panelists across 44 Local TV markets.”



Nielsen said the move would effectively double the sample size and introduce out-of-home measurement to television. Nielsen estimated it would “lead to a 40% decrease in zero audience estimates,” which is Nielsen terminology for viewing that falls below statistically valid levels of measurement.

Nielsen said “impact data” for the effect of out-of-home measurement combined with PPM measurement of in-home viewing is expected in the third quarter of 2017.  

The addition of PPM panelists to Local TV service will effectively double the sample size and provide local clients with ratings that reflect precise measurement of local viewing behaviors and insights, and boost ratings fidelity. Nielsen will begin to introduce PPM measurement for in-home and out-of-home viewing in 2017.

As part of the rollout, Nielsen said it would introduce a new “stand-alone service” giving local ratings customers in 44 markets “the ability to see incremental audience provided by out-of-home viewing.

Historically, the ad industry has resisted attempts to integrate out-of-home measurement of television as part of the audience estimates they use for buying television. But most of that ad industry pushback came decades ago when ABC and ESPN fielded stand-alone studies estimating out-of-home TV viewing.
2 comments about "Nielsen To Use PPMs For Local TV Ratings, Will Include Out-Of-Home Viewing".
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  1. Babar Khan from Branding In Asia, October 7, 2016 at 6:24 a.m.

    PPMs do not measure "viewing", this is simply assumed by the system - obviously with highly inflationary implications for many TV show types and out-of-home "exposure"s and most especially, whenever a commercial is on the screen. What I find ironic is that Nielsen vigorously made the same point about PPMs definition of viewing in 2005-06 when Arbitron and Nielsen were discussing a joint venture to launch the PPM as a radio/TV service. I guess when you own the technology, you might have a different perspective.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 7, 2016 at 6:56 a.m.

    @ Babar. Your comment uses the exact wording from a brief dialog I had with Jay Guyther on Linkedin on this subject---practically word for word. While I'm flattered and Jay probably would be as well, why not credit your sources or, better yet, why not say it in your own words?

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