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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Nielsen Begins Largest Ever Expansion of Its National U.S. Television Ratings Panel

The Nielsen Company says that it will triple the size of its National People Meter (NPM) television ratings panel by 2011, further increasing the precision of its national
television ratings and providing more flexibility for measuring non-traditional television viewing.

Nielsen has been the gold standardfor TV ratings for decades.

Nielsen's NPM panel, which now encompasses about 12,000 U.S. households and 35,000 people, will increase to 37,000 homes and 100,000 people as the company completes the previously announced introduction of Local People Meters (LPM) into 56 local U.S. markets, and integrates these sample homes into the NPM. The sample expansion begins this November when three LPM markets are integrated into the National sample. (For research purposes,
this expansion will result in an "effective" sample size of 17,000 households after weighting for the geographical distribution of the 56 LPM markets is taken into account. The "effective" sample size of the NPM panel is now 10,000 households.)

Larger sample sizes are increasingly important due to the continuing fragmentation of television viewing. 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. It will further help Nielsen accomplish many of the objectives of its Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement (A2/M2) initiative, which seeks to measure televised video as it moves beyond the television set in the home to the Internet, hand-held devices and to platforms outside the house.

"Nielsen is committed to continuously improving the quality of its television measurement and this expansion will be a major step forward in the accuracy and the flexibility of our national television panel," says Sara Erichson, executive vice president, Client Services Nielsen North
America. "With a panel of a hundred thousand people, we can more precisely pinpoint the viewing of all demographic groups and dig deeper into the audience levels for networks of all sizes."

"This also has implications for Nielsen's A2/M2 initiatives, all of which are built around the concept of 'following the video,' wherever it migrates," says Scott Springer, product leader of audience measurement for The Nielsen Company's Media Segment. "Our plans for out-of-home viewing, streaming video on the Internet, and '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."

The National People Meter panel is used to produce ratings for national broadcasting, cable and syndicated television programming. It is composed of randomly selected households that reflect the overall U.S. population. Nielsen uses electronic meters to continuously measure what shows are being watched and who is watching them. Until 2002 the NPM consisted of 5,000
households and about 15,000 people. Since then, Nielsen has installed Local People Meters in the ten largest local U.S. markets. Nielsen has announced plans to introduce LPMs in three more markets in 2007, five in 2008, 12 in 2009, twelve in 2010 and 14 in 2011.

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