Electronic counters, Units of measurement of the audience in techniques using electronic means - Sociology of mass communications. Theory and practice

Electronic counters

It's about the so-called electronic counters, or auditors (or piplmetra). When the task is to fix the behavior of a person with a receiver (radio or television), this is a method about which, paraphrasing W. Churchill's words about democracy, we can say that he may not be very good, but the best available. It allows you to achieve an objective picture: when connected to a TV, it captures which channel is turned on at the moment. Here we are dealing not with preferences, not with declared interests, needs, but with real consumption. This information is periodically removed by the host computer located in the research firm. The information can be instantly summarized within the region or the whole country - which transmission gathers the largest audience. Compared to information obtained from diaries, almost every second of the watch is measured here - a fact that allows you to monitor the behavior of the audience within very small time intervals, the value of which increases when analyzing the behavior of the audience within the ad units.

It is in this information that advertisers are interested, when they decide, in a cage with what transfer they can place their advertising. When presenting the measurement results of the audience, it is emphasized that the picture obtained justifies the quantitative assessment of the audience of the transmission, its size, but not the quality assessment of these programs. A lot of material has been accumulated about the relationship between the behavioral acts of a person and the scope of his assessments, opinions, and relations by researchers of mass communications, and we should have no illusions about this. That is why, even in the interests of the synonymic series, one should avoid such words of interest, such as "interest", "popularity", "ratings" and so on

The main thing that advertisers are interested in in these studies are the characteristics of the coverage area, i.e. what is the strength of the signal, what spaces and geographic areas it covers; and prevalence ( circulation ), i.e. the size of the potential audience, which is in the zone of reception of this signal. But these are the basic characteristics that really need verification - to what extent they are confirmed by constant or one-stage behavior of the audience. Therefore, you need to enter the units of measure that characterize the size of the audience of a particular transmission.

Audience units in techniques using electronic media

It would seem that when comparing different gears, a universal tool is a rank. But a new word does not arise until the old functions with these functions. A ranked series, with all the information it contains, does not tell the distance between places: between the second and third, fifth and sixth, and so on. Therefore, when the rank is used in analytical materials of firms, it is only in combination with the value characterizing the actual audience of a specific program (as well as the lists of record books, the most current for today, and the favorite musical groups of young people, etc.). This is the easiest way to designate a real audience. But the absolute value is devoid of comparative strength in dynamics. This consideration generated an audience measure unit, such as rating ( rating ). Your TV set on a certain transfer must be related to all the TVs in the country, i.e. get an answer to the question "What part of the population of the country sits at this moment in front of the TV, watching this series?", so that, for example, to compare this percentage of the total population of the country with that rating, with the percentage that this audience will make in a few years , when (and if) this television series will be repeated by our television (and when, for example, the population itself will be greater).

Purely historically the idea of ​​obtaining ratings of TV shows found its industrial embodiment, was put on stream with electronic monitoring, when the unit of observation was a family, a house with a TV (and in those years it was a house where there is one TV), and therefore traditionally rating - this is the percentage of televisions included in the transfer we are interested in, to all houses, and only after some time all the TV sets began to be taken as a whole.

It remains very important to correlate your behavior - the inclusion of the TV in a certain broadcast - against the background of the audience behavior of others. Roughly speaking, if you watch a certain program, do the others sit with the TV turned off or turn on another channel? For this purpose, along with the above-mentioned rating, another indicator is used - share of the audience rating ( share of audience rating). It determines the proportion of the given transfer among homes with the TV turned on ( households using television rating). But that's not all. For an advertiser, for example, assessing the chances of each transmission to reach a larger number of viewers, it is important to know the purely objective potential of the transfer - whether it covers technically the entire country or only a certain region. We agree that it is very important for him that this transfer, having at least one hundred percent "stake", is in the zone of reception of only a small part of the population of the country.

A picture of the consumption of a specific transmission by a specific consumer is created. This information is for consideration for the communicator building its informational, entertaining policy, and for commercial TV stations, which are very dependent on advertisers: such information can be the basis for the removal (or reshuffle) of the broadcast of a program that received a low rating. This information influences the advertiser's strategy to place his advertisement there or elsewhere, and not least, this is a question of the price for placing this advertisement. These data also exacerbate competition between channels, information about the size of the audience can acquire a fundamental importance for the channels - for some, to justify state subsidies, for others - for the purpose of settling with advertisers.

Sometimes an advertiser turns out to be attractive for a transfer, which has a relatively small rating, but consists of individuals who, in terms of their demographic characteristics, need to be a future buyer of their product. Naturally, he will place advertising in this program. In addition to the fact of viewing, the auditor, like all the previously listed methods of sociological information retrieval, fixes the socio-demographic characteristics of family members: planar, linear information acquires additional depth.

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