ESPN and CNBC, probably the two networks that most stand to get the potential TV ad pricing benefits from it, have signed up for an out of home viewing measurement service from Arbitron. It will use the Portable People Meter device that I believe Arbitron also uses to measure radio listening, but I’m not certain. The linked Media Daily News article also notes that a number of Turner cable networks have signed up as well, but doesn’t list them.
Nielsen Media had a pilot program to measure out of home viewing in the relatively recent past but couldn’t get enough subscribers to sign up. My somewhat educated guess would be because of the cost. Being the likely hungrier competitor, it’s a reasonable guess that Arbitron’s pricing was more attractive.
Will these out of home measurements be included in the ratings we report? No. All the ratings we see on a regular basis are from Nielsen Media, although it would not surprise me if we see some of these numbers occasionally in PR or various press reports.
Will these out of home measurments be included in the ad sales presentations from CNBC and ESPN ad salespeople? I’d assume so. That’s the primary reason for any network to sign up for any ratings service, to be able to appropriately price and sell its advertising inventory. The PR benefits they get from telling everyone how wonderfully large their audiences are is just a side benefit that alone isn’t nearly worth the cost involved.