Channel detection: identifying what people are watching

We use our leading engineering technology to detect which channels are being viewed and continually reassess the best approach for each market.

As broadcast consumption continues to extend across devices and formats, we need to deploy television audience measurement services in different ways.  In particular, encoding digital channels is increasingly helping us to understand fragmented viewing habits.

The core of any TV currency service is the robust and future-ready technology it deploys.  The watermarking (encoding) and audio-matching (finger-printing) technologies that we own are completely scalable.  Both are best-in-class techniques in their own right.  They are all the more powerful working together.

Broadcasters, agencies and advertisers can track viewing of their content across TV, tablet and mobile screens, and benefit from our ability to deliver accurate audience measurement as the media ecosystem continues to evolve.

Audio matching

Audio Matching can detect both analogue and digital transmissions. It retains the advantage of independence from the broadcaster or set top box manufacturers. It can be used even in the case of broadcast transmissions across borders.

In the home, samples of the audio of the channel broadcast through the TV set are stored in the meter. The data is sent  to our data processing centre where it is  subsequently matched with “reference” samples from all channels being measured - so determining the channel being viewed.

Audio Watermarking

With so many new ways of distributing and consuming TV and video content, watermarking techniques enable us to detect content wherever and whenever its consumed. It identifies not only content, whether a commercial or a programme, and the channel, but also the distribution network or video portal. 

Our watermarking technology can distinguish between different versions of the same content, for example standard vs high definition or on-demand vs catch-up TV viewing.  Content can be detected up to 99 days after the first broadcast and so measures live, scheduled and time-shifted viewing.

Audio watermarking (encoding) embeds a series of codes, beyond the range of the human ear, in the soundtrack of a TV programme or commercial.  These are collected by the metering technology in the homes of the audience panel to register what is being watched.  

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