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Chapter Summary
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Chapter 12
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Current TV ratings

International Radio and Television Society

Music Test Methods

Auditorium Music Testing

Newsweek Media Research Index

Online Market Research

Chapter 12 - Ratings

Audience estimates, expressed as ratings, are an important tool for broadcasters, cablecasters, web site operators, and advertisers. Audience reports published by different ratings companies aid decision making in the industry with such things like programming and advertising for television and other sources of media.

Early ratings companies, such as the Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting and the C.E. Hooper Company used telephone surveys to measure radio listening. This was often cumbersome and inaccurate. The A.C. Nielsen Company used a mechanical device attached to a radio or a TV set to generate its estimates of the audience.

Currently, the Arbitron Company uses diaries to measure radio listening while the Nielsen Company uses a hand-held device, called a People Meter, along with set-top meters and diaries to measure TV viewing. Several companies use different techniques to measure web site traffic. Such companies that are used are Media Metrix, Inc., and NielsenNet, who use a panel of computer uses to track data on website visits.

Ratings companies calculate ratings, share of the audience, households using TV, people using radio, and cumulative audience figures and publish their results online in ratings books. The reports contain maps, demographic information, daypart results and reports concerning specific programs. This information is used by networks, syndication companies, local stations, and advertisers.

In addition to ratings research, radio stations use call-out research and auditorium testing to fine tune their play lists.

Broadcasters and cablecasters also use market research to pretest programs and commercials. Focus groups are conducted to investigate why certain programs and commercials are popular and others aren't.

Finally, lifestyle research and psychographic research focus on personality traits and values in an effort to understand the audience further.

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