At the local level, Nielsen measures television audiences using different methodologies depending on the market.
In the top markets (ranked 1-25), local people meters (LPM) are used to electronically capture both tuning and viewing. The LPM is considered the standard of measurement in the US today. See "Local People Meter Primer" to understand the advantages of LPMs in audience measurement.
In the next set of markets (ranked 26-56), set meters are used to capture set tuning continuously all year, while diaries are still mailed out during sweeps to capture demographics (who is watching). These two methods (what and who) are joined together to develop audience estimates in these markets. See "Buying in Meter-Diary Markets" for more information.
In the smallest markets (currently markets ranked above #57) diaries are sent out four times a year during "sweep" months. The broadcasters tend to schedule premieres, specials and original programming during these "sweep" periods, and this "hyped" data is used for buying and selling the rest of the year. Diaries are used to collect both viewing (who) and tuning (how many people) to programs and networks. The diary is the least accurate collection method. On average diaries under-report demo audiences 10-25%. See "Buying in a Diary-only Market" for more information.
Buying in a Diary-only Market
Buying in Meter-Diary Markets
Local People Meter Primer
LPM Roll-Out Schedule
Local Posting Guidelines
Local Cable FAQ's
Not sure how many cable systems exist in the U.S. and what exactly is an interconnect? This section will answer your most frequently asked questions regarding local cable advertising.
Local Cable Avail Times
Interested in learning networks allotted insertion times for local commercials, click here for a complete list of Ad-Supported Cable’s local avail times.
Major Market Interconnects
For national or local advertisers who are looking to reach consumers at the DMA/Spot Cable level; interconnects enable them to reach the right subscribers. Interconnects, which combine two or more local cable systems and distribute a program or commercial signal simultaneously, allow the advertiser to reach their target with only one buy, one commercial tap and one invoice. This section lists the main interconnects in the Top 50 DMAs.
Regional Cable Directory
Use this tool to browse a directory of the major regional cable news & sports networks by state. Each directory listing contains a brief network profile along with contact information.
Cable Systems Directory
There are thousands of local cable systems in the U.S. To simplify the process of locating specific cable systems, we have created a browsable, online directory that allows you to quickly find local cable systems in various markets of interest.