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Definition: Nielsen Ratings
Nielsen ratings are television audience measurement systems developed by Nelson Company. It helps media make the best possible marketing decisions by providing information on the audience size and composition of television programming in United States.
The first Nielsen ratings for radio shows were released in the first week of December 1947. Twenty programs were measured in mainly 4 categories- average viewers, total viewers, cumulative viewers and homes per dollar spent for talent and time. Now, they have expanded into all screens: television, computers and mobile devices. It can be measured in one of the two ways-
1. Viewer dairies- In this he target group self-records its viewing habits.
2. Set Meters - which are mini devices connected to television in selected homes. A Home unit is then connected to a telephone line which transmits the home viewing habits and related information to Nielsen
The ratings are then reported in rating points/share, where, share is the percentage of TV sets in use tuned to the program. For example, if Nielsen reports a show as receiving 8.3/16 during its broadcast; it means that 8.3 percent were tuned into the program out of all television-equipped households, and 16 percent were tuned in to that program out of all television-equipped households with a television currently in use.