back to article Ratings volunteers to be spied on by mobiles

You know how you can volunteer to be a TV ratings guinea pig? And then they - Nielsen or whoever - attach kit to your telly so that they can tell everything you and all your thousands of fellow guineapigs watch, and so the ratings get compiled. Well, that system is flawed. It can't measure the telly you watch at the pub, the …

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Anonymous Coward

London tube announcements?

You worry about being tracked by a device you carry voluntarily? At the same time you will hardly find a corner which is not in the range of CCTVs, in all London. Well, it's Monday morning. But we'd better care about all those cameras where we have nothing but Hubson's choice.

EAfH

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Am I the only one...

...who keeps my phone in my pocket? Its impossible to make out what those people who leave their keypads unlocked are saying when they accidentally call you...

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Anonymous Coward

still not perfect..

Still wont listen to your headphones...

and wouldn't it get very confused by a bought dvd?

And wouldn't background noise alter the fingerprints to make them unrecognisable?

Seems very flawed still. possibly more so than a box on your tv!

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US variation

I know of a US variant; lower tech but possibly more robust. You wear a beeper like device, which (according to the folks who run the program) "listens" for codes in broadcast media, particularly the commercials themselves. You drop the beeper in a charger/communicator when you go to bed, and it uploads whatever it registered via land line. The way they make sure you use it is a) you get paid for having it on a minimum number of hours a day and b) there's a motion sensor to detect if it is on someone or not.

Not always necessary to complicate things by adding in bluetooth, cel networks, etc.

Keller

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Anonymous Coward

Virgin Media

Dont Virgin and I assume other cable co's send viewing data back automatically anyway?

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Anonymous Coward

Virgin Media

No, they don't.

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Nielsen PeopleMeter

Nielsen has been trialing this technology for about two years: the PeopleMeter (mentioned above by K. Drozdick) is, as far as I know, still undergoing trials in Texas and somewhere in the US midwest.

While the technology is "intrusive", the people ARE volunteers, and the data is considerably more accurate than the set top box and paper log that PeopleMeter replaces. And it does extend accuracy of reporting to venues that are normally impossible to survey without "ground-pounders" (ie, Nielsen employees) watching the people.

Why should we care?

Because, in the current advert-sponsored entertainment environment, anything that provides a more accurate measure of what we REALLY enjoy (as opposed to what the RIAA and MPAA constituents TELL us to enjoy) is going to improve the quality of entertainment content over time. Face it: Coke or Chrysler are only going to sponsor content that gets watched or listened to.

Furthermore, with content segmentation becoming rampant (100 channels of satellite radio, 500 channels of satellite TV, DVDs, CDs - downloads don't count here as they are already tied directly to a customer) knowing what is popular and being enjoyed is much more difficult.

My suggestion to all El Reg regulars out there: go sign up to be a ratings volunteer! Get your idea or what is entertainment registered with the only group that really can influence the content that we get presented with. Take your PeopleMeter to Indy concerts, watch oddball DVDs, listen to pirate mixes in the car - do everything you can to add outlying data points to their database. If enough "intelligent" people start "contaminating" the data, maybe we'll actually see some changes in the entertainment content provider's agenda.

After all, without sponsors, there are no shows. Sony/BMG would understand this quicker than a Congressional subpoena.

Oh, and while you're at it, go sign up for jury duty. Remember, it's supposed to be YOUR PEERS - if you don't go, think of who will be judging YOU when you get busted for writing Open Source or listening to Indy music...

Just me two EuroCents...

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