Patent published on October 24, 2023

Nielsen's New Patent Could Hide Better Messages in Media

In the seemingly infinite world of media, a simple yet profound problem has been plaguing the industry for years. The dilemma, encrypted within the maze of visibly invisible watermarks, is the issue of payload size—the amount of precious data that a watermark can carry. Watermarks are similar to invisible stickers added onto media content. As the creation of new media content exponentially increases, so does the need for identifiers—codes to uniquely recognize each content—which also increases in size. Picture it as a rapidly expanding population outgrowing its name system.

Now, the dicey part lies in the mismatch. Existing watermarking systems, think of them as current tools used to attach these invisible stickers, often fall short as they might not accommodate large-sized identifiers. Consequently, the current watermarking technologies become akin to small boats lost in a vast ocean of vast content.

However, a silver lining has been drawn as Nielsen Company, a global measurement and data analytics firm, recently secured a patent (US11800132B2) set to potentially revolutionize watermark encoding. This patented machinery constructs an intricate yet ingenious system of adding not one, but two types of watermarks—doubling carrying capacity. These watermarks can also weave in additional information, thereby adding another layer of uniqueness and broader applicability. It's like receiving a hidden note with a secret message that only you can decode.

Moreover, the patent makes all this magic happen without bumping up the size of an individual watermark's payload—a stroke of genius pure in itself. The new technology allows sneaking additional data into watermarked media, without adding a physical burden. Think of it as packing an impressive camping kit in your compact daily bag—additional function without disturbing the form.

Imagine living in a world where getting a song identified becomes as swift as a whiff of summer wind, where every advertisement is tracked promptly, and every fragment of content has a robust invisible marker, duly recognized by the system. This patented technology could potentially tweak the media experience by gently yet firmly bridging the data gap between content creation and content identification.

It’s worth noting that although this patent marks a significant stride forward, it’s no guarantee that the practical application this technology promises will come to pass or even appear in the market promptly. The journey from a patent to a tangible product often involves yet another set of hurdles. But for this moment, we can appreciate the potential and envisage a future powered by better watermark encoding technology.

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