Brazil’s Ibope sizes up digital audiences

Research firm developing portable people meter

RIO DE JANEIRO — Local research firm Ibope Media is in the final stages of development of a portable people meter (PPM) that will measure the TV audience in public venues and digital mobile TV sets.

Controlled by local Ibope, ad agency WPP and Nielsen, Ibope Media is the only company that researches TV audiences in Brazil. It plans to have PPM ready in about two months and begin testing measurements in the second half of this year, said the company’s commercial director, Dora Camara.

The company has regular people meters in 3,200 households in Brazil that measure the audience of free-to-air, cable and satellite nets at home. With PPM, Camara said, it will be able to include in the research the audience of TV sets in public venues, such as the ones that air sports games in bars.

But the leading reason for the development of the new meter is the advent of free-to-air digital TV, which will allow viewers to watch television via portable sets anywhere. As in many other countries, Brazil is initiating its transition from analog free-to-air to digital TV.

“We are preparing ourselves for the portable capabilities of digital,” Camara said.

She added that Ibope Media will eventually distribute individual PPMs to all residents of the 3,200 households with traditional meters. The meters are the size of a pager and are to be carried everywhere by the viewers involved in the research. PPM will be able to automatically detect if the viewer is watching TV outside the home and determine which net he/she is watching by the sound it captures.

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