Peoplemeters, or TV meters, are electronic devices that measure TV audience, i.e. who watches what on TV and when. TV audience information is a key indicator of the success of TV stations and is measured in all developed countries around the world.
The Peoplemeter (or TV meter) is a device which we use to find out who watches what on TV and when.
It's a small box which is connected to the television set and continuously sends data about which programme is on and who is present and watching the TV at that moment.
The TV audience is basically a benchmark of success of TV stations and it is measured in all developed countries around the world.
The information about TV audience is used by:
A selected sample of households (currently about 1,900) has peoplemeters at home. These are representative in structure and behaviour of all households in the population with at least one TV set. However, the list of people participating in the measurement is not public, both to protect privacy and to prevent any influence.
The sample of households (panel) must be fully representative of all TV viewers. It has the same structure and the same TV behaviour as the TV population - this means, for example, that it contains an adequate representation of men and women, all age groups, weak and strong viewers, etc. This makes it possible to generalise the measured results to all TV viewers in the Czech Republic.
The audience research in the Czech Republic involves more than 4,470 people from 1,900 households. This is a sufficient number in terms of international standards, in fact more than enough, considering the total size of population of the Czech Republic..
The members of the peoplemeter panel have a peoplemeter connected to every television set in their home. This device sends data about which programme is currently on TV and who is watching.
Information about the viewed television channels is collected automatically, the members of peoplemeter households only provide information about their presence by using the remote control. It is also possible to log on a guest who is watching a programme at the monitored household, or to notify a long absence - holidays and so on.
The peoplemeter is a small black box containing electronics which secures collection and transmission of the audience data. Part of the peoplemeter set includes a display and a remote control.
Peoplemeters measure the audience of all channels in the households in whichever way (antenna, satellite, cable, IPTV, Internet ...) the TV signal is received. The exact time of beginning and end of the viewing activity is recorded, including the use of teletext, video or DVD player or use of any other equipment connected to the TV.
The implementer of the TV audience measurement project protects the data of households and their members in accordance with applicable regulations, including the GDPR. Panel members' activity and their responses are never presented individually, but always anonymously and collectively, for example for the group "women 50-60 years". The sponsors are always interested in summarised information on the behaviour of the population or specific target groups, not in a specific individual. For more detailed information, see the Data Protection and Processing page (only in Czech).
The result of the peoplemeter measurement is the information about the audience of individual television channels and programmes, which type of viewer watched what and when. The success of television channels and their programmes can be determined on the basis of the audience measurement results. The results can be seen from different angles: both the total number of viewers and the attractiveness of individual programmes for different audience groups (women, men, older, younger, regions, etc.) are monitored.
Preliminary data are available online to the users a few minutes after the broadcast. Complete data are always ready within two hours after the end of daily broadcasting: at 8 o'clock in the morning (the broadcast day lasts 24 hours, from 6 am to 6 am the next day).
The software available to the users of the peoplemeter data allows analysis of the data from different angles. One of the best known outputs are the so-called pies, or pie charts (today they look more like a "donut" than a pie). These show us how succesful were the television channels among the TV population (the share) and how many people from the target group watched the programme (the rating). Definitions of the different indicators can be found here.
Regular public outputs of peoplemeter data are published at the following websites:
Example of data output from peoplemeter research
ATO - Nielsen Admosphere, 2019
This graph indicates how many of the people who were watching TV at a specific time were watching a particular programme.
The graph shows that in 2019, most people (all TV viewers over 15 years of age) watched the stations of the ČT, Nova and Prima groups.
The results can be made more specific, for example to identify a narrower time period (e.g. prime time) or audience group (e.g. men 35-50 years). These specific results can then show the different tastes of different audience groups.
Rating gives another view of the audience results. It is usually expressed as a percentage or in thousands of viewers. It tells us how many people from a particular target group watched a particular programme. If someone watched only a part of the programme, for example the first 20 minutes, his or her viewing is included in this percentage only partially - proportionally.
The table above shows examples of ratings of the most watched series in the third week of March. For each of the top three TV stations, the most successful episode of the series is shown. From the data we can see that the most watched series on Nova during the period was Police Modrava with a 24% rating. This episode of Police Modrava was watched by a quarter of adult TV viewers (15+) in the third week of March, i.e. about 2.1 million Czechs. The most watched series on ČT1 and Prima this week were Murder in the Ring (ČT1) and Journeys Home III (Prima). Vraždy v kruhu attracted 14.3% of Czech TV viewers over 15 years of age (1.2 million people), while Cesty domů III was watched by 7% (about 600,000 Czech adult viewers).
Did you know that measuring TV audience isn't just about watching live TV on your living room TV anymore? Viewing habits are changing and more and more online video content is coming into play. That's why digital audience is also being measured in the Czech Republic, as part of the so-called PEM D project.