Nielsen to Triple Size of TV Panel

NEW YORK The Nielsen Co. said it would triple the size of its national people meter TV ratings panel by 2011. The news comes less than a week after the research giant unveiled an aggressive rollout of local people meters beyond the top 25 markets to an additional 38 markets by the same date.

Currently at 12,000 U.S. households and 35,000 people, the national ratings panel will increase to 37,000 households and 100,000 people, providing the TV industry with more discrete demographic data for more TV channels and laying the foundation for commercial ratings.

“A larger sample also supports the more granular measurement that clients are requesting as the television industry moves in the direction of commercial minute ratings,” Nielsen said in a statement.

As Nielsen expands into additional local people meter markets, it will be able to gradually increase the national sample. The expansion for the national sample begins this November when three LPM markets will be integrated into the national sample.

The sample expansion also has implications for Nielsen’s A2/M2 initiative to measure all video. “Our plans for out-of-home viewing, streaming video on the Internet and the ‘third-screen’ devices such as cell phones and hand-held video players are based on integrating these measurements with traditional television measurement. This much larger national sample creates the necessary foundation for an integrated measurement approach,” said Scott Springer, product leader of audience measurement for Nielsen’s media segment.

Nielsen has been using people meters to measure national TV viewing since 1988. It began to transition local TV markets to people meters in 2002, which were then used to expand the national TV ratings panel.

Nielsen Co. is Adweek‘s parent company.