You know you are a powerful research company when your results change the face of television programming. The king of TV ratings, Nielsen Media Research collects its nationwide audience data from electronic People Meters placed in thousands of randomly selected households. In addition, the company measures viewers' habits in about 210 local markets, through meter technology in the largest and paper diaries in the rest. Separately, the company surveys TV watching in Hispanic markets. It generates a wide variety of reports for its customers, which include TV networks, advertisers, and TV stations. Nielsen Media Research is the largest unit in the media segment of its parent company, Nielsen.
Nielsen Media Research collects data not only from television sets, but also from VCRs and DVRs, to account for time-shifted viewing. The company's Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement (A2/M2) product analyzes television viewing across multiple platforms, including iPods, mobile phones, and personal computers.
To better serve its customers, Nielsen Media Research is rolling out meter technology in additional local markets and to refine its methods for tracking nontraditional TV viewing. Other companies in Nielsen's media segment track Internet, mobile phone, and movie audiences.