Patent published on August 15, 2023

Nielsen's New Tool Helps Understand What Shows You Love to Watch

Understanding your favorite shows just got a lot easier, thanks to a new tool developed by Nielsen Media Research. The company, renowned for its audience measurement technology, has been granted a patent (US11727423B2) for a unique device that promises to revolutionize how we track and analyze media consumption.

This ingenious piece of technology has a simple job: keeping tabs on what television shows or movies you're watching. However, it respects your privacy and only starts its monitoring process if you give the green light. The beauty of this tool is that it's not limited to traditional television; it can track what's being watched on devices as small as your smartphone.

Nielsen's new tool tries to crack a problem that has long bothered researchers in audience measurement. Traditionally, most people who provide this monitoring information are not part of the typical audience panel, meaning their characteristics are not known to the measurement entity. With this new tool, Nielsen aims to not just increase the size of these panels but ensure the accuracy of the data they collected.

This tool comes with an array of functionalities beyond simple monitoring. It also collects demographic information about the viewer, compiles, and organizes this data. The gathered information can then be used to discern viewer preferences, going a long way in understanding what specific subsets of people enjoy watching.

Figures accompanying the patent reveal a complex process involving the registration of an over-the-top (OTT) device with a measurement entity, audience demographics association, and collection of impressions to indicate media being consumed. It also implies the construction of a demographic mapping table to associate audience details with corresponding OTT device identifiers. The robustness of this tool suggests an effort to construct extremely detailed, reliable, and precise demographic data for media consumption.

However, Nielsen doesn't forget about privacy. By being the first to receive the data generated by this tool, they can safeguard the media source's privacy and the media being accessed. Further, when internet cookies are used to identify users, privacy is ensured, as the only servers that can access a log are those associated with the internet domain that set the cookie.

While Nielsen's new tool carries several advantages, it's essential to underscore that it is a patent. That means there's no surefire guarantee that this technology will make its way to the market, at least not immediately. However, it's a clear roadmap to the future of audience measurement, a path that involves more data, more precision, and privacy respect at its core.

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