Nielsen Tests A/P Meter in Digital Wilmington

NEW YORK Nielsen took the opportunity Monday to test the performance of its A/P meter in an all-digital broadcast environment in Wilmington, N.C., the first market to make the transition to digital TV transmission, less than six months before the Feb. 17, 2009 deadline.

As broadcasters turned off their analog signals at noon, two Wilmington TV stations, WECT-TV, the NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media, and WWAY-TV, the ABC affiliate owned by Morris Multimedia, agreed to participate in Nielsen’s test of its A/P meter.

Although Wilmington is a diary-only market, the two stations followed the same steps that metered market stations will take when they make the transition from analog to digital-only.

“Wilmington provides us with a unique real-world opportunity to test our plans for managing the DTV transition next February. The Wilmington test will provide Nielsen and its clients with insight that will help ensure that television audience measurement is constant and accurate through the transition,” Nielsen told its clients in a Sept. 8 notice.

For the test, Nielsen provided the station with encoders for both their analog and digital signals. Nielsen also created a “super site” where Nielsen collects code and signature detection information for the market, allowing the research firm to monitor signals before and after the switchover.

Nielsen plans to share its findings. Adweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.