The official retirement of paper diaries is slated for early 2018. The new electronic local audience measurement system “will incorporate return path data from set-top boxes, and other electronic measurement in local services,” Nielsen says.
I find it encouraging to learn that Nielsen is finally moving ahead with plans to replace paper diaries with electronic boxes that count viewership passively. People in the sample homes won’t have to do anything except, I suppose, keep the boxes plugged in. However, I’m a bit skeptical that Nielsen can pull this off
The ratings service is beginning to replace paper diaries with new electronic devices it’s developed that will track viewing by “listening” to the audio portion of TV shows watched and a Nielsen “audio watermark” embedded in the signals transmitted by stations. It is starting with 14 of the 154 markets that still use diaries.
The Media Rating Council has revoked its accreditation for Nielsen’s 154 diary-only local TV market reports, effective with the 2009 audit period.