Television Measurement

Today’s consumers are watching more TV than ever, which makes understanding what and how they’re watching an essential part of any marketing campaign. With our expansive and representative television panels, Nielsen tracks viewing behaviour down to the second, revealing detailed programming and commercial engagement. And because viewers now have multiple screens to choose from, we are able integrate audience measurement, in various countries, across TVs, PCs and mobile phones to help clients create precise cross-platform plans.


Television ratings are coupled with detailed analysis of consumer viewing behaviour and demographic information. Which members of a household are watching which shows? And which programs do they all watch together? Which family characteristics, such as pet ownership, income and education correlate with viewing choices? This depth of knowledge allows clients to refine their campaigns based on demographics, day-part and audience composition.


Electronic metering technology is at the heart of the Nielsen ratings process. Our tools capture not only what channel is being watched, but also who is watching and when, including “time-shifted” viewing.

Nielsen’s TV panels represent a cross-section of representative homes in more than 30 countries, across five continents. Their viewing is measured by our people meters, which capture information on what’s being viewed, when, by whom and how many in the house are watching.

Using data from set-top boxes, Nielsen delivers a constant, real-time stream of information, revealing tuning behavior during programs and commercials. We can tell clients which commercials are being watched and which have the strongest engagement and impact. We even analyse which position in the program or commercial block is most effective for a specific brand.


Nielsen invented TV audience measurement and analytics. When our founder Arthur C. Nielsen, invested in the very first television-metering device in 1936, there were only a few hundred sets in the world. Today, Nielsen continues to invest in technology, methodology and panel recruitment to ensure we remain the unquestioned leader in the field. We measure more than 40 percent of the world’s viewing behavior – hundreds of channels, thousands of programs, millions of viewers. Our measurement covers not only conventional TV sets, but also the growing viewership on computers and mobile devices.