Television Metrics: Dairy v/s PeopIemeter, TRP/TVR, Program Reach & Time Spent, Stickiness Index, Ad Viewership

20th November 2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Audience measurement measures how many people are in an audience, usually in relation to radio listenership and television viewership, but also in relation to newspaper and magazine readership and, increasingly, web traffic on websites. Sometimes, the term is used as pertaining to practices which help broadcasters and advertisers determine who is listening rather than just how many people are listening. In some parts of the world, the resulting relative numbers are referred to as audience share, while in other places the broader term market share is used. This broader meaning is also called audience research.

Measurements are broken down by media market, which for the most part corresponds to metropolitan areas, both large and small.

Dairy v/s PeopIemeter

A people meter is an audience measurement tool used to measure the viewing habits of TV and cable audiences.

The People Meter is a ‘box’, about the size of a paperback book. The box is hooked up to each television set and is accompanied by a remote-control unit. Each family member in a sample household is assigned a personal ‘viewing button’. It identifies each household member’s age and sex. If the TV is turned on and the viewer doesn’t identify themselves, the meter flashes to remind them. Additional buttons on the People Meter enable guests to participate in the sample by recording their age, sex and viewing status into the system.

Another version of the device is small, about the size of a beeper, that plugs into the wall below or near each TV set in household. It monitors anything that comes on the TV and relays the information with the small Portable People Meter to narrow down who is watching what and when.

The device, known as a ‘frequency-based meter’, was invented by a British company called Audits of Great Britain (AGB). The successor company to AGB is TNS, which is active in 34 countries around the globe.

Local People Meter

Along with changing their counting methods, Nielsen also started emphasizing their sample in 2003 in reaction to census shifts and requests from some industry sectors. Nielsen’s automated Local People Meter (LPM) technology was introduced in New York and Los Angeles. The LPM improved the method of measurement from active and diary-based to passive and meter-monitored. More importantly, the LPM provides accurate measurements to particular local markets, verse a nationwide sample from the People meter. While diary-based surveys concentrated on quarterly “sweeps” periods, the industry has been pushed towards year-round measurement, due to the automated LPM system.

“Nielsen introduced the LPM as evidence of the rupturing of the network-era business model became broadly apparent, and apprehension about the future of the industry erupted on all sectors. LPM’s more accurately reported full range of what programming viewers watched, including what was observed when channel surfing, in comparison to the diary method it replaced. It allowed Nielsen to maintain established measurement practices, but do them better”.

“While Nielsen’s LPM’s presented next-day demographic analyses on television viewership in major cities, the devices led to accusations of undercounting minorities. A lot of controversy surrounding LPM’s was driven by News Corporation-funded “Don’t Count Us Out” alliance, which exploited activists’ and legislators’ foreseeable mindless reactions to any suggestion of racism”


One single television ratings point (Rtg or TVR) represents 1% of television households in the surveyed area in a given minute. As of 2004, there are an estimated 109.6 million television households in the United States. Thus, a single national ratings point represents 1%, or 1,096,000 television households for the 2004–05 season. When used for the broadcast of a program, the average rating across the duration of the show is typically given. Ratings points are often used for specific demographics rather than just households. For example, a ratings point among the key 18- to 49-year-olds demographic is equivalent to 1% of all 18- to 49-year-olds in the country.

A Rtg/TVR is different from a share point in that it is the percentage of all possible households, while a share point is 1% of all households watching television at the time. Hence the share of a broadcast is often significantly higher than the rating, especially at times when overall TV viewing is low. A low TRP can have an adverse effect on a TV program eventually leading to its closure.


Gross rating points (GRPs) or target rating points (TRPs) are chiefly used to measure the performance of TV-based advertising campaigns, and are the sum of the TVRs of each commercial spot within the campaign. An ad campaign might require a certain number of GRPs among a particular demographic across the duration of the campaign. The GRP of a campaign is equal to the percentage of people who saw, multiplied by the average number of spots that these viewers saw. Targeted Rating Points are a refinement of GRPs to express the reach time frequency of only the most likely prospects. For example, if a campaign buys 150 GRPs for a television spot, but only half of that audience is actually in the market for the campaign’s product, then the TRP would be stated as 75 to calculate the net effective buy.

Gross rating point, a standard measure in advertising, it measures advertising impact. It is a percent of the target market reached multiplied by the exposure frequency. Thus, a program which advertises to 30% of the target market and gives them 4 exposures, will have 120 GRP.

GRPs as a measure has some limitations. People like to think of it as a measure of impact, but that is really overstated. Impact should measure sales; these measures exposures, which is in fact assumed not actual exposures.

Basics of TAM (television advertising measurement):

Universe: Universe is the total or actual number of people in a defined target audience.

Program Reach & Time Spent

Reach: Reach is the number of individuals from the universe who are exposed to the medium or vehicle.

Reach is normally expressed in terms of % (percentages)

Calculation of reach:

If universe is: 1,000,000 individuals (this is approx. data, it is usually defined through sampling through people-meter):

For a single episode of a program (30 minutes or 1 hour) If out of above 1,000,000 of individuals 600,000 saw at least 1 minute of programme then:

Reach = (600,000/1,000,000) x 100

Reach = 60%

Cumulative reach

Cumulative reach: The audiences accumulate over the time

  • The number of individuals within the TG who are exposed to the medium or vehicle over a certain period of time
  • Total time = Total average minutes (universe) x Universe
  • Total time/reach = Avg minutes viewers
  • Net reach

Net Reach

Net reach is the summation of all audiences who have been exposed to the vehicle and excludes the duplication of the viewership.

Stickiness Index

An engagement metric indicating the degree to which a program is viewed. The percent of program that has been watched. The greater the percentage of the program viewed compared to all programs of the same duration in a certain time period, the greater the stickiness index.

Sticky content refers to content published on a website, which has the purpose of getting users to return to that particular website or hold their attention and get them to spend longer periods of time on this site. Webmasters use this method to build up a community of returning visitors to a website.

Examples are chat rooms, online forums, webmail, Internet games, weather, news and horoscopes.

Sticky content is also sometimes called sticky tools or sticky gear, and websites featuring sticky content are often referred to as sticky sites.

Product Stickiness Ratio is the ratio of (Daily Active Users) DAU and (Monthly Active Users) MAU. It is one of the widely used metrics for product engagement and tells us how sticky a product is. It was popularised by Facebook and was used by it to understand the true stickiness of the Facebook app.

Daily Active Users (DAU): DAU is calculated as the total number of unique users who use your product on any given day. In other words, DAU is the total count of users who use your product at least once in a day.

Monthly Active Users (MAU): MAU is calculated as the total number of unique users who use your product in a month. In other words, MAU is the total count of users who use your product at least once in a month.

DAUs and MAUs are standalone absolute numbers which can’t be compared for various businesses because the definition of active users varies for different companies. However, DAU/MAU is a holistic metric that speaks about product success. Since it is a percentage, it can be compared for various companies as well to understand their success in reaching their user engagement goals.

Marketing Team:

To segment the users on the basis of DAU/MAU ratio and increase usage of for the segment with low DAU/MAU ratio through strategies such as push notifications, educational email campaigns etc.

To create a lookalike audience of the segment with high DAU/MAU ratio since this segment has the least likelihood of churn.

Retention Team:

To pitch plan upgrades to customers by segmenting them on the  basis of DAU/MAU ratio.

To create a retention plan for customers with low DAU/MAU ratio since customers with low average DAU/MAU ratio have higher likelihood of churn.

Ad Viewership

It refers to the number of viewers that have the opportunity to view an ad during a given time period. Advertising sales executives usually have extensive data about the reach of a show’s or network’s programming, which they then use to make decisions about when and where to air their commercials. In addition, reach is a primary component in calculating gross ratings points, which is a metric often used to evaluate broad TV ad campaigns.

Measuring Reach

The Nielsen company rates the number of viewers watching TV programs for networks, and also breaks the results down demographically so businesses have more detailed information about who those viewers are. Nielsen measures audience through different survey methods, including sophisticated set-top boxes, and categorizes results based on demographics like gender, age, race and income. Nielsen then distributes to TV networks and advertisers data on reach, including details like the percentages of the viewers in specific demographic groups, weekly and monthly averages, and the estimated total number of viewers. Business owners can usually get this information from advertising sales representatives or ad agencies.

Gross Rating Points

Advertisers, media buyers and marketers evaluate ad campaigns by looking at both reach the medium offers and the frequency at which the viewer sees the ad. The tool they use are “gross rating points,” which are calculated by multiplying the audience reached by the frequency of its exposure to the message during a given period. According to Digiday, a rating point is one percent of the potential audience, meaning a show that has a rating of 10 points gets 10 percent of the viewers. So, if a TV ad has a reach of 30 percent of its target audience, and the ad shows four time, the ad campaign has 120 gross ratings points.

Effective Reach

Another way to measure the usefulness of an ad is to measure the effective reach, which tracks the percentage of the possible audience that sees an advertisement and how often that advertisement is viewed. Advertisers use effective reach to judge the quality of the exposure to the ad. Ideally, an advertiser wants many people to see an ad at least a few times. However, if the frequency is too high, the ad is thought to produce diminishing returns. Some advertisers believe an ad must be seen a few times before it becomes effective and must balance frequency with the risks of overexposure.

Using Reach

Advertisers use information about reach to target the consumer demographics or groups that are most likely to buy the product. For instance, a toy maker would want to air ads during children’s programming rather than on late-night talk shows. To make this task easier, in addition to gender, race and region, Nielsen separates ratings into the 12-17 age group, 18-49 age group, and the 55 and older age group. For larger ad campaigns, marketers often test the ad with focus groups before broadcasting it or conduct surveys after its broadcast to determine its effectiveness.