The Nielsen Company was established in 1923 and is best known as the leader in media research, such as TV, radio, and internet. The Nielsen Company gathers information about the stations and programs adults, teenagers and children watch to across the U.S. We use that information to prepare reports that are used by the media industry.
The Nielsen TV ratings reports are used by TV stations and networks, advertisers and others in the media industry to learn more about the viewing habits across the U.S. The information is also studied by students in colleges and universities as one of the primary indicators of how the American public gets its information and entertainment.
Your home was scientifically selected for a television viewing survey. We cannot ask every home to keep a diary so we carefully select a sample of homes in your community to represent the entire TV audience. We want to collect the TV programs your household watches and your comments about TV in general.
All homes that are selected to keep a diary are important whether they watch TV just a little or a lot. We need to have a representative sample of all types of TV viewers. People all over the country are taking part. Our sample will be more accurate if selected viewers like you participate.
The diaries you return will represent other TV homes in your community. We need your assistance because only you can provide us with information that we need to produce accurate TV ratings. The sample includes all types of TV homes across the United States and your home was selected as a representative of your local community.
If any household member is employed by, or a principal owner in the television or media industry, our guidelines prohibit us from including that household in our survey. If that is the case, please accept our thanks for your interest and your understanding and answer 'Yes' to question #9, the TV/Radio employment question, in each diary. Return all the diaries at your convenience so that we know that you are a member of the media. If you are unsure, please call 1-800-237-8611 for more detailed information. A helpful person is waiting to answer any questions you may have.
Please be assured that your name, address, phone number, and email address are confidential. We do not release or sell any information about any TV home. The reports we produce combine the TV viewing of all homes that participate. The identities of individual homes are not used in any Nielsen reports.
Yes! The people who plan and schedule television programs need to know what the American public is watching on television. We cannot ask every home to fill out a Nielsen diary. But each diary home is special because it has been carefully selected to represent their community. Nobody could possibly substitute for any one of our Nielsen homes because no two homes are alike in their television viewing. Unlike a newspaper or a magazine, where the publisher can count how many copies are sold, there is no simple way to know how many people are watching any given program. Nielsen estimates the audience of TV programs with the information gathered from people like you.
No. Diary keeping is easy. It only takes a few minutes to make entries in the diary when someone watches TV in your home. You make entries in the diary for just one week, and then return it. You may call our toll free 1-800-237-8611 (7 days a week, 9:00 AM to 12:00 Midnight EST) if you have questions during your diary-keeping week or you can find answers to most frequently-asked questions elsewhere on this web site.
Yes. Try to enter the viewing for all the sets into the one diary. If you do not have enough space, attach a separate sheet and follow the instructions inside the back cover of the diary. Be sure to include the day, time, channel name, number, program name, and persons watching.
We sent you a diary for each TV in your home. Please place a diary near each TV set and enter any viewing for that set in the diary. At the end of the survey week, please return all the diaries. If a set is not used at all, write "No Viewing" on the cover of that diary and return it.
Whichever Male is listed first on the home's lease, deed, or mortgage should enter their name as "Male Head of House" (column 1). Whichever Female is listed first on the home's lease, deed, or mortgage should enter their name as "Female Head of House" (column 2). Enter the names of other household members in columns 3 - 9.
This question refers to household members who are employed. Enter hours worked per week for each employed member of the household. Write in zero (0) for anyone not working.
For visitors, be sure to write the word "visitor" instead of writing in their name or initials. You can also attach a separate sheet with the gender, age and TV programs viewed for any visitor. Please ask any visitor to write down their viewing either in the diary or on a separate sheet.
Enter the TV viewing in the diary for that particular TV set, or ask the children to enter their own viewing. If there is no diary for that set, enter their TV viewing in the other diary. We are interested in all viewing that is done in your home. Children's viewing is very important to us.
The channel number, station/channel name, and city is important information that allows Nielsen to properly credit your viewing to the correct station. There are many areas of the country that may receive the same programs during the same time period, but the program may be from different stations in different cities. We have no way of knowing this information unless you tell us. Filling in channels that you receive, allows us to accurately match your viewing to the appropriate station.
Yes. You can send in a list of your TV channels, such as a channel listing or channel guide from a local newspaper, your cable company, or your satellite company that lists this information, if available. Please review the list to make sure it is accurate and that no channels have changed. Cross out any channels you do not subscribe to or receive. If some have changed, please try to correct them right on the channel list itself. This will help us when we receive the diary back. Whatever information you can supply in the diary will help us to identify and give credit to any channel or station that you have written in the diary pages during your survey week.
Be sure to answer the cable question in the front of the diary and write in the name of your cable company. When making entries in the "Chan. No." column, please write in the cable channel number. Enter the rest of the viewing information as shown in the diary instructions.
Please answer the satellite questions in the front of the diary.
If you have a large dish satellite: Under the "Station or Channel Name" column, enter the broadcast station or channel name. Under the "Chan. No." column, enter the satellite number and transponder number, if known, and channel number. If you do not know the satellite number, transponder number, or channel number, write, "receive channels from satellite."
If you have a small dish satellite: Under the "Station or Channel Name" column, enter the broadcast station or channel name. Under the "Chan. No." column, enter the satellite channel number.
Please write in the diary only those TV programs that were recorded during your survey week and that you or other household members actually do watch.
In the Nielsen TV diary, watching "Live" TV refers to watching programs at the time they are originally telecast as opposed to using some electronic device or service to watch it at a later time (i.e. playback). Some examples of playback devices or services would be the use of Digital Video Recorders, Video-On-Demand, or Video Cassette Recorders to watch programs at your convenience.
The original date & start time refers to when the program was recorded on your DVR. When you are watching "Live TV" there is no need to write the current date & time in the Telecast columns.
The Telecast columns should be left blank whenever you are watching "live" TV. The "telecast" columns are only to be used when watching a program played-back on your DVR. See "DVR Playback". Enter the appropriate information in the Station or Channel Name, Channel Number, Program Name, and Audience columns.
Please select the current day & time row to indicate when you begin watching. Enter the channel name and number as you would for any viewing entry. If you delay the program by 15 minutes or more, please enter the original date & start time of the program as you would for other DVR playback entries. If you delay the program less than 15 minutes, please leave the "Telecast" columns blank as you would for a "Live" viewing entry. For all entries, please be sure to include the name of the program, and mark an “X” and draw a line down to show who's watching.
We prefer that you do not enter viewing of programs recorded prior to the start of the survey week. We only report information on programs aired during the survey week. Please just write "Watching a program recorded prior to survey week," in the Name of Program column. Put an "X" in the columns for the household members who are watching. Draw lines down under each column to indicate how long the recorded program was watched.
If you are watching a DVR-recorded program that was recorded during the survey week, enter the channel name, number, and name of program on the page for the day and time it is being watched. Put an “X” in the columns for the household members who are watching. Write “DVR” and the date the program was recorded next to the program name. Draw lines down under each column to indicate how long the program was watched.
If you are watching a program and recording it at the same time, enter the channel name, number, and program name in the daily diary pages as you would live viewing. Put an “X” in the columns for the household members who are watching. Draw lines down under each item to indicate how long the program was watched and recorded.
In the back of the diary on the VCR pages, write the date you recorded the program, the start/stop times, the channel information and name or names of the program(s), for those program(s) you are recording on your VCR.
Indicate that the TV is on by marking an "X" and drawing a line down the "TV SET ON" column. Put an “X” in the "TV IS ON, BUT NO ONE IS WATCHING" Column (last Column on the right). In the back of the diary on the VCR pages, write the date you recorded the program, the start/stop times, the channel information and name or names of the program(s), for those program(s) you are recording on your VCR.
When you view a purchased/rented pre-recorded tape or DVD we prefer that you do not enter
the program or movie name in the diary. Write the words of one of the following appropriate
statements in that time slot on the page for that day:
Draw lines down under each column to indicate how long the tape or DVD was playing.
We prefer that you do not enter viewing of programs recorded prior to the start of the survey week. We only report information on programs aired during the survey week. Please just write "Watching a program recorded prior to survey week," in the "Name of Program" column. Put an "X" in the columns for the household members who are watching. Draw lines down under each column to indicate how long the recorded program was watched.
If you are watching a VCR taped or DVD-recorded program that you recorded during the survey week, please make sure you have entered it in the back of the diary. If not, please enter as much information as you can. Enter the date you recorded the program, the start/stop times, the channel information and name or names of the programs in the VCR pages in the back of the diary. You can also write the info in the daily diary pages on whatever day and time it is being watched. Put an “X” in the columns for the household members who are watching. Write “VCR-playback or DVD-playback” next to the program name and include the date it was recorded, if possible. Draw lines down under each column to indicate how long program was watched.
Please enter in your diary only the TV viewing that occurs in your home. Our ratings system is based on "in home" TV viewing. When diary keepers enter viewing for any visitors, that accounts for any viewing in other homes. For this diary survey, we do not collect viewing done in public places.
Please do not change your regular TV viewing habits while filling in the diary. This survey should accurately reflect what you and/or other household members actually viewed during the survey week. Watch television as you normally would. If you watch "special" presentations, then enter the name of the special in the diary.
If your TV is tuned to any station or channel at least five minutes, enter the channel name, number, the name of program or movie, and indicate who was watching or listening. Make a note in the diary to indicate you were "switching" channels.
If you watched a program for at least five minutes, please enter the channel name, number, the name of program or movie, and the persons watching.
For the TV having the split screen capability, please write "split screen or picture- in-picture" in any white space in the front of the diary. For the program showing that also has the sound (audio) on; enter in your diary the TV program, call letters, and channel number and mark "X" and draw lines down under the names of persons watching or listening. For the program showing without the sound on, enter the channel name, number, the name of program or movie, and indicate that you are watching it on a split screen in the back of the diary as shown below. By your notes in the diary, we will identify both programs for inclusion in our report. It is important for us to include "watching & listening" or "just watching" or "just listening" use of a TV.
Please write "THIS TV IS ONLY USED AS A COMPUTER MONITOR" in Step 1 in the diary. Answer the questions in the diary and return to Nielsen. If there are times that you watch TV programs on this TV, enter this viewing in the diary. Be sure to mark any days that the TV is used as a computer monitor accordingly.
At this time, Nielsen does not measure TV viewing that occurs on computers in the diary survey. Please do not enter what you watch via a computer.
For the TV that is on and not being watched or listened to, put an "X" in the "TV ON" column
and an "X" in the "no one watching or listening" column. Draw lines down to indicate how long
the set was on. Please enter the channel name, number, call letters, and name of program, if
known. If someone is listening, but not watching, enter the channel name, number, call letters,
and name of program and put an "X" in the column of the household member who is listening.
Make regular diary entries for the TV that is being watched in the diary for that TV.
Note: For any entry to be properly identified and credited when we receive the diary back, we need to know the channel name, number, the name of the program or movie and the persons watching. When an "X" is entered under a person's name, this is an indication that the person "started" to watch that program. When the vertical line is drawn down under the "X," it indicates the duration of the time that the person watched, for example, 15 minutes, one-half hour, one hour or more, etc.
Write in each diary what is playing on each TV set and mark an "X" in the column of the person who is watching the programs.
For the TV that is seldom used, please put one of the diaries with it for the survey week, just in case it is used. If it is not used, then write "No Viewing" on the diary cover or in some white space in the diary for that TV and return that diary with the others to Nielsen. By doing this, you let us know that we have captured all the TV viewing that occurred in your home during the survey week.
Please write "No TV" on the diary cover or in some blank space in the diary. Please return the diary to Nielsen. When we receive your diary back, we will know that your home didn't refuse to participate in our survey, but that you no longer have a TV to report any television viewing.
The money enclosed with the diary is a thank you in advance for filling out and returning your diary. We know that your time is worth a lot more. However, the survey does give you a chance to tell the people who plan TV programming what programs are watched in your home.
Please keep the money and return the diary or diaries sent to you. Write the reason in the diary and return the diary so that we will know that you did receive our diary, but that you are unable to participate in our survey. We hope that in the future if your home is selected for a Nielsen TV Ratings survey, that you will be able to participate at that time.
If you are not at the residence address during the diary week, please note in the diary "no TV viewing occurred on these days-away on vacation" on those pages. The diary is designed to measure TV viewing at the residence it was sent to. It is not for places you may go to while away from home (e.g., hotels, airplanes, etc.) as other TV channels may be received at those locations and that viewing may not represent what you would normally view at home.
Yes, you may make viewing entries in the diary. There is a place in the diary to write in the city, state and county where you now reside.
Yes. Your participation is extremely important to us.
No, we're sorry. Your household was selected at your permanent residence. We use only the TV viewing done in your permanent residence. We can not include the viewing that occurs at a vacation home. However, please check the box in the back of the diary to indicate that "Everyone is away all week". Fill in the names of all household members and fill in the information about the age, sex and number of hours worked and answer the other questions in the diary and return it (or all of them) to us.
No, we're sorry. We use only the TV viewing done in your permanent residence. We can not include the viewing that occurs at a vacation home. Please write in the diary "This is my second home". Fill in the names of all household members and fill in the information about the age, sex and number of hours worked and answer the other questions in the diary and return it (or all of them) to us.
We can only use the diary that contains viewing done in your household. Please use the diary you kept to make entries of the TV viewing in your household. On the diary not kept by your household, please put a note saying, "This diary was kept by another household." Mail both diaries back.
Please do not give the diary to your neighbor. Our survey is being conducted among a scientifically selected sample of homes, and your home was the one selected. Your neighbor's home may be selected for another survey in the future. If you give the diary to another household, the survey will not be accurate, as the sample was selected to be representative of the population. Please try to take the time to complete the diary. Your household is critically important to us. It only takes a few minutes per day while you are watching TV. This may be your only chance to participate in the TV ratings and to let the TV industry know what you are watching on TV.
If your diary is destroyed or lost, unfortunately we cannot mail another one. However, we would encourage you to please participate in any future surveys we may contact you about.
Call the 800 number, there may still be time to participate!! Please call our toll-free telephone number: 1-800-237-8611, 7 days a week, 9:00 AM to 12:00 Midnight EST.
A diary is considered late if you receive it in the mail after the Thursday start date printed on the
cover. Please call our toll-free telephone number 1-800-237-8611 for instructions on how to
proceed. It is helpful to us if you write notes in the diary to tell us what happened.
IMPORTANT: If we receive a diary back with blank viewing pages without a message of what happened, we have no way of determining TV usage for those particular days. This could result in us not being able to use your information. If you did not receive a diary at all from us, unfortunately we cannot mail another one. However, we would encourage you to participate if you are telephoned again in the future.
No return envelope is needed. The diary is a self-mailer. Moisten the flap on the back cover of the diary, and seal over the label on the front cover, which bears your name. We pay the postage. If you did receive an envelope from us, you may use it to return all your diaries.
The diary is a self-mailer and has a strip of glue on the flap in the back, which you simply moisten and fold over your address on the front of the diary to seal. Tape it if you wish, but be sure that the back flap of the diary covers your name and address label.
Please do not tear the label off. Cross out your name, if you wish. We need the mailing information to properly identify the viewing in your area. We do not disclose the names of any households that participate in our surveys.
Information from your diary is combined with that from other homes in the survey to produce reports about TV viewing. By combining the information, we report the number of homes that watch TV programs without ever identifying any individual home.