Mobile to Measure Media Consumption

Will the iPhone become the new “viewer diary”?

Measuring media consumption in the multi-media world we live in is a difficult problem to solve.  In the old world, Nielsen recruits viewers who keep diaries and have set meters to track their television viewing.  In the new world, it is the iPhone that is poised to be the anchor of a new initiative to measure media consumption that covers the landscape-from TV to digital media delivered through mobile phones and computers.

The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), a group made up of the media and advertising agencies, is planning to give away free iPhones to consumers who agree to log their media consumption into a special application.  The plan calls for 1,000 participants and a budget of just under $1 million.  The Wall Street Journal has a good article on this subject, “Tallying Up Viewers” by Suzanne Vranica that outlines the details of the CIMM’s plans.

Nielsen has been at the media measurement business for nearly a century and has been relied upon as the source for TV viewership.  They started in the 1920s measuring brand advertising, advancing to radio in the 1930s and television in the 1950s.  Here in 2010, they plan to install internet measurement devices and offering data later this year.  It will be interesting to see how the use of the iPhone for multi-media measurement will impact their business.  Yet again, the iPhone could be the catalyst for change and in the media measurement market…not media delivery!

From a practical point of view, it will be interesting to see how accurate data collection will be. Expecting a person to accurately track media coming at you from many sources, in many ways and at a rapid pace sounds challenging.  Nielsen’s television measurement metrics are focused on a single medium and in most cases with meters attached to the device…a television.  Their data is often challenged.  Using mobile, specifically the iPhone, to track media will take some time to mature.

Yet again, the iPhone is playing a part in blazing the trail for measuring media in the digital world.

Okay.  So how will innovations in measuring media consumption impact how you manage your business in the digital world?

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