Out-of-home Television Viewing
in Puerto Rico

In most places around the world, television accounts for the highest share of total advertising expenditure compared to other media.  In an orderly market, the buying and selling of television advertising time is based upon an audience measurement system.  Presently, the most advanced state-of-the-art operational system is based upon electronic metering of television sets within households.

Perennially, a criticism of household-based metering systems is that only television tuning/viewing within homes are measured.  Nothing is captured at all about out-of-home television viewing, such as at public waiting rooms, bars and offices.  This would not too serious if out-of-home viewing was systematic across television stations and programs, since that implies a constant factor may be applied across the board.  Unfortunately, out-of-home viewing is not uniform across television stations and programs.  As one example, business cable channels such as Bloomberg and CNBC are probably universally present in financial trading companies, since their coverage and announcements have tremendous impact on market behavior.  As another example, programs such as Monday Night Football in the USA are featured prominently in sports bars across the country.

The measurement of out-of-home television viewing is a difficult process.  There is no point in installing an electronic meter on the television set in a bar just to check its status if one does not know who are the one hundred people in front of it.  Eventually, we may perhaps see the personal watch meter that can capture the electronic codes embedded within radio and television broadcast signals and this will tell us what media a person has come into contact with, no matter where they are.

We will now cite some data from the TGI Puerto Rico survey from Mediafax Inc.  This is a survey of 2,530 persons 12 years or older in Puerto Rico conducted during February-April 2000.  According to this survey, 32.4% of the respondents said that they had watched television outside of their primary home during the past 7 days.  The next chart shows the incidences of out-of-home viewing by age/sex.  It should be clear that out-of-home television viewing is much heavier among persons 12-34 years old.  It can certainly be argued that, especially for advertisers who are interested in young people, that television is delivering added value above and beyond the traditional ratings.

Where does that out-of-home television viewing take place?  The next chart shows that information.  By far, the largest amount goes to guest viewing in other people's home.  At the moment, some of the television audience measurement systems has the capability to ask for guest to record their presence.  However, this information is used primarily to provide an aggregate-level adjustment to the ratings and there is obviously no way to tell anything more about these guests (such as what they usually watch when they are not guests in this home).

(posted by Roland Soong, 3/22/2001)

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