How Nielsen Ratings Work, and Why You Can’t Apply to Join the Company's Panel

Its data underpins more than $70 billion in TV advertising

If you work in the TV or advertising industry, or even if you’re just a TV fan, you likely talk about Nielsen television ratings on a regular basis. After all, the fate of more than a thousand scripted and unscripted TV shows, as well as the country’s $70 billion-plus TV advertising market, is tied to the measurement company’s ratings data. But what happens between the time a TV program first airs or streams and networks and clients receive those metrics from Nielsen? In the latest video in our series How S#it Works, we talk with Brian Fuhrer, Nielsen’s svp of product leadership, about TV ratings. Fuhrer explains how Nielsen creates its national panel; how and what the company measures; and why, as much as some would like, you can’t apply to join the company’s panel.