New technology could change ratings

From January 1, 2013, audience ratings in Switzerland will be recorded using a new technology. A new device and special software will make it possible to measure time-shifted television and TV consumption via computer.

The new technology makes it possible to map the TV consumption of the Swiss resident population more precisely. Since the 1980s, this has been recorded using devices connected to the TV sets of a representative selection of households. However, these devices do not adequately reflect viewing habits, which have changed significantly in recent years.

Mediapulse, the foundation for media research, is therefore switching to a new measurement system on January 1, 2013, which it hopes will provide a very precise picture of Swiss television consumption. This is a "paradigm shift," Isabel Wenger told the media in Zurich on Tuesday. She is responsible for the introduction of the new technology at Mediapulse. The new technology compares the sound broadcast by the TV station with that received by the viewer. With this so-called "audio matching," it is possible to identify a television program even if it is viewed days after it was broadcast.

Larger deviations possible

With the introduction of the new devices, the ratings are likely to change. After all, none of the households that currently own a meter will be represented in the future. This can lead to greater deviations, as Mediapulse Managing Director Manuel Dähler explained. In addition, many more households are now eligible for measurement than in the past. Whereas a TV set used to be a prerequisite, now only a "TV-capable screen" is needed. This can also be a computer monitor. This results in a change in the measurement values. In the future, two quotas will be used instead of one. One covers consumption on the day of the first broadcast (including time-shifted playback), and the second maps consumption over the next seven days. According to Dähler, it is currently only possible to speculate how the results will change from January 2013. A large proportion of the new participants have already been recruited. In total, around 2000 households are taking part in the measurements.

The Mediapulse Group measures television and radio consumption in Switzerland. It has a statutory mandate. It also receives contributions from the federal government for collecting usage data. (SDA)

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