Peoplemeters and TV audience measurement in the Czech Republic

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.

What is a peoplemeter and what is it for?

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.

Why is the TV audience measured?

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:

  • TV stations - to know how successful their shows were, and for planning when to broadcast which programme
  • Media agencies - i.e. those who buy or sell television advertising
Audience and advertising
Television advertising is the largest source of income for commercial television stations. Money from advertising buys and produces television content, which is therefore free for viewers, who only "pay" (with) their attention.

The audience determines the price of advertising. As with newspapers and magazines, where the more readers the title has the more expensive the cost of advertising, television stations, as well as radio stations or Internet websites, offer their advertising space at a price corresponding to the success or popularity of broadcast programmes.
Who is behind the Czech audience research?
The research in the Czech Republic is sponsored by the Association of Television Organisations (ATO), whose members share not only the costs of the project but also control over its accuracy, making sure no biases occur. The actual implementer of the research is Nielsen Admosphere, which has measured the TV audience in the Czech Republic since 2002. The company has defended its position several times in regularly announced tenders.

More about ATO (the Association of Television Organisations) or Nielsen Admosphere can be found on their websites:
History of audience measurement in dates
What is the television single currency?
Companies and institutions that work with TV audience results have data from a single source - thanks to the existence of one independent measurement. The results are thus mutually comparable, even from year to year. Confidence in the accuracy of the results is guaranteed by the strict supervision of the Association, which orders the research and has the greatest interest in ensuring the accuracy of the measurement. The project itself is carried out by an agency independent of the data users, which adds to the credibility of the audience measurement results.

Who has a peoplemeter at home?

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.

Can I have it too?
Participation in the research is voluntary, of course, but people cannot enlist in it. This prevents people who would like to influence the measurement results, to only test the peoplemeter or otherwise bias the resulting data to participate in the research. The selection of households which are contacted and asked to participate in the measurement is therefore independent and follows exactly predefined and recognised statistical procedures.
You don’t know anyone with a peoplemeter at home?
Approximately one in every nine hundred Czech inhabitants has had a peoplemeter in his or her household over the last ten years. The probability that you know someone like that is therefore very small. The probability that you will have a conversation about TV meters is even smaller, especially because the information that the household is participating in the project is confidential. This is also important as the members of the measured household could be tempted by someone to interfere with the TV meter or otherwise affect the audience results.
How are households selected for the project?
The structure of the peoplemeter panel of the households participating in the measurement project must exactly match the composition of Czech television viewers. The sample must be representative of the television population in demographic, geographic and socio-economic terms as well as in terms of television behaviour and reception of the TV signal.

Not all of the information needed for the peoplemeter research can be obtained from the Czech Statistical Office (CSO). For this reason, an important part of the Project is the extensive Continuous survey, which maps the structure and behaviour of the television population. The peoplemeter panel is built and updated on the basis of these data and the CSO data. Roughly twelve thousand people come across this support survey annually. Interviewers of the Continuous survey address households personally on the basis of so-called quota sampling. They do not make the selection themselves, but according to a predetermined methodology.

The same survey also determines the willingness of households to participate in the peoplemeter research. With time such households can be asked to cooperate in the measurement. A quarter of the panel is replaced annually in this way.

Is the sample correct and sufficient?

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..

How to live with the peoplemeter?

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.

How is the accuracy ensured?
It is very important that the viewers with peoplemeters are accurate about their presence in front of the TV. This activity is carefully checked during data processing and one of the main tasks of the call-centre operators is to verify any unusual behaviour in the measured households. Participation in the research also starts with training and a trial period for the household, so people have time to get used to the login and logout process and get accustomed to audience measurement in their home.
What do the people get for it?
Members of the peoplemeter households can affect the composition of the TV broadcasting by their selection of TV channels. They represent millions of Czech TV viewers of all ages and basically determine which TV channel´s programme interested the most viewers. The households gain points for this cooperation and with those they can choose gifts from a catalogue of rewards. The catalogue changes every year according to preferences of the households and includes both practical gifts and those that are mainly aimed to please. Respondents can also convert points into money for charity.

What does the peoplemeter look like and what can it do?

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.

How and where do the data from peoplemeters go?
It is very important that the viewers with peoplemeters are accurate about their presence in front of the TV. This activity is carefully checked during the data processing and one of the main tasks of the call-centre operators is to verify any unusual behaviour in the measured households. Participation in the research also starts with training and a trial period for the household, so people have time to get used to the login and logout process and get accustomed to audience measurement in their home.
What about online TV broadcasting?
Watching TV over the Internet has become more important in recent years and its measurement is now just as important. When it comes to watching "Internet TV", i.e. receiving TV broadcasts via so-called IPTV operators, this is measured by a classic peoplemeter. This technology is completely independent of the type of signal reception. Regarding the audience of TV broadcasts on other digital devices, e.g. computers, tablets, etc., this is also measured in the Czech Republic since 2018 in the so-called digital part (PEM D) of the TV audience measurement project. You can read more about digital viewership measurement here.
Who produces the Czech peoplemeters?
The peoplemeters used in the Czech Republic (the Nielsen Admosphere TV meter and the newer Nielsen Admosphere SimEar) are the result of the work of Czech developers and innovators. Their task is to respond to changes in television technology and continue to facilitate and make the "coexistence" of measured households with the peoplemeters easier.

How is the privacy of panel members protected?

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).

What is the result of the measurement?

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.

Who has access to the results?
The exclusive right to the audience measurement data belongs to the previously mentioned Association of Television Organisations (ATO). A list of its members is on the website of ATO ( The ATO regularly publishes some of the results, such as average weekly and monthly audiences; see Any other data can be provided to the non-members only with consent of the Association. This is because the television audience research is among the most extensive research projects carried out in the Czech Republic and its actual implementation is quite expensive. Most of the results are therefore not freely accessible.
When are the results available?

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).

What do the pies say? Share and rating

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

"Share" pie/donut

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.

Example of data output from peoplemeter research
ATO - Nielsen Admosphere, March 2015


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).

Do the results correspond with reality?
Accurate research requires a sufficiently large and representative panel. The panel size (1900 households) is adequate to the size of the whole population. In the Czech Republic this ratio is even higher than it is usual in this type of research in other countries.
The data also undergo daily verification, so even if you have a different taste and you are wondering about the measured results, you should be reassured that the results of peoplemeter households actually reflect what the television population watches.

More about the Czech TV audience measurement project

Watch videos with Standa Peoplemetrák

Measuring digital audience in the Czech Republic

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.