WO2000072484A9 - Viewer identification apparatus for use in a broadcast audience measurement - Google Patents

Viewer identification apparatus for use in a broadcast audience measurement

Info

Publication number
WO2000072484A9
WO2000072484A9 PCT/US2000/007572 US0007572W WO0072484A9 WO 2000072484 A9 WO2000072484 A9 WO 2000072484A9 US 0007572 W US0007572 W US 0007572W WO 0072484 A9 WO0072484 A9 WO 0072484A9
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
remote control
tuning
arranged
display
identification
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2000/007572
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2000072484A1 (en )
Inventor
Daozheng Lu
Barry Cook
Original Assignee
Nielsen Media Res Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04HBROADCAST COMMUNICATION
    • H04H60/00Arrangements for broadcast applications with a direct linking to broadcast information or broadcast space-time; Broadcast-related systems
    • H04H60/35Arrangements for identifying or recognising characteristics with a direct linkage to broadcast information or to broadcast space-time, e.g. for identifying broadcast stations or for identifying users
    • H04H60/45Arrangements for identifying or recognising characteristics with a direct linkage to broadcast information or to broadcast space-time, e.g. for identifying broadcast stations or for identifying users for identifying users
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04HBROADCAST COMMUNICATION
    • H04H60/00Arrangements for broadcast applications with a direct linking to broadcast information or broadcast space-time; Broadcast-related systems
    • H04H60/29Arrangements for monitoring broadcast services or broadcast-related services
    • H04H60/31Arrangements for monitoring the use made of the broadcast services

Abstract

A broadcast audience measurement system provides a display of the currently recorded audience status on a remote control device located at or near a viewing location from which a broadcast audience member views television programming. Displaying the audience status on a small, viewer-proximate, display, instead of on a separate display next to the television set, allows a broadcast audience research company to use smaller, less obtrusive equipment, thus increasing the likelihood that viewers associated with the statistically selected viewing premises will cooperate with the audience measurement and making their status as members of a research panel less obvious to visitors.

Description

VIEWER IDENTIFICATION APPARATUS FOR USE IN A BROADCAST AUDIENCE MEASUREMENT

Technical Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the measure¬

ment of broadcast audiences, and more particularly to the

measurement of television broadcast audiences.

Background of the Invention

It is customary in the field of broadcast audi¬

ence research to employ a measurement apparatus with each

broadcast receiver within each of a plurality of statis¬

tically selected locations in order to determine tuning

data. This tuning data, for example, may be the identity

of the channel to which the broadcast receiver is tuned

whenever the broadcast receiver is on.

It is further customary to provide a manual

input device that can be used by those viewers who are

actually viewing the program corresponding to the tuned

broadcast signal in order to indicate their identities to

the measurement apparatus. This manual input is fre¬

quently provided in the form of a Peoplemeter which not

only allows each viewer to manually enter a viewer iden¬

tification but also provides a visual status indicator for showing which of the viewers have indicated that they

are currently in the viewing audience. For example, this

visual status indicator may comprise a plurality of se¬

lectively illuminated light emitting diodes disposed on a

box placed adjacent to a television display and within the field of view of the viewers.

The manual input device alternatively may be a

battery-powered remote control that includes a keypad and

an infra-red pulse transmitter which permit a viewer to manually enter the viewer's identity and to transmit that identity by way of infra-red pulses to the measurement apparatus or other data collector. The measurement apparatus or other data collector also provides a visual

status indication as discussed above. Such a remote control is disclosed by Kiewit in U.S. Patent No.

4,876,736. Still other alternative devices which collect

manually entered viewer identification data and which use

the television display to indicate the currently recorded

audience status are known.

The tuning data from the measurement apparatus

and the viewer identities from the manual input device are commonly time stamped with the times of each tuning

event and/or of each change in audience composition. The

time stamped tuning and viewer records are then stored in

a store and forward unit within the statistically

selected location for subsequent forwarding to a data

collection central office, such as on a daily or other

basis .

Known manual input devices which reside on or near monitored broadcast receivers may adversely impact the willingness of viewers to be members of a

statistically selected viewing panel for audience measurement purposes because such input devices are large and intrusive and because such input devices make the membership of the viewers in the panel obvious to

visitors .

Also, known manual input devices provide for

visual confirmation by displaying entered data on the

screen of a television or a set top box. Because this

data in the case of visitors includes demographic data

(such as age) , visitors may be reluctant to use the

manual input device which would require sharing entered the data that they enter with other persons in the

viewing area.

The present invention solves one or more of the

above noted problems .

Summary of the Invention

In accordance with one aspect of the present

invention, a system comprises an input device and an

apparatus . The input device has a transmitter and a

display, is remote from a broadcast receiving appliance,

and is operable by a person to input an identification.

The transmitter is arranged to transmit the

identification. The apparatus is located adjacent the

broadcast receiving appliance and has a receiver arranged

to receive the identification. The display is arranged

to display the identification in response to a message

from the apparatus indicating that the apparatus received

the identification. The apparatus has a transmitter

arranged to transmit the message in response to receiving

the identification. In accordance with another aspect of the

present invention, a remote control device for use in

connection with a broadcast receiving and tuning

appliance comprises a manual data entry device, a

transmitter, a display, a memory, and a microprocessor.

The manual data entry device is operable by a user of the

broadcast receiving and tuning appliance to generate a

tuning output and a person's identification output. The

transmitter is arranged to transmit the tuning output to

the broadcast receiving and tuning appliance. The memory

stores a set of prompting rules which, when executed, are

arranged to prompt the user of the broadcast receiving

and tuning appliance. The microprocessor, which is

controlled by a program stored in the memory, controls

the display to display a representation of the person's

identification output and executes the prompting rules.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the

present invention, an audience measurement system, which

collects tuning and persons data at a viewing location

remote from a monitored television having an ON state and

an OFF state, comprises an input device and a measurement apparatus. The input device is located at the viewing

location and includes a manual data input device, an

input device transmitter, an input device receiver, and a

display. The measurement apparatus is adjacent to the

monitored television and includes a microprocessor, a

sensor, a measurement apparatus receiver, and a

measurement apparatus transmitter. The manual data input

device is operable by a person to input an

identification. The input device transmitter is arranged

to transmit the identification. The input device

receiver is arranged to receive a message. The display

is arranged to display a representation of the

identification in response to the input device receiver

receiving the message . The microprocessor is controlled

by a program stored in a memory. The sensor is arranged

to determine when the monitored television is in the ON

state . The measurement apparatus receiver is arranged to

receive the identification from the input device. The

measurement apparatus transmitter is arranged to transmit

an acknowledgment of receipt of the identification in response to execution of the program by the microprocessor.

In accordance with still another aspect of the

present invention, an audience measurement system, which

collects data at a viewing location associated with a

tuner located within a statistically selected premises,

comprises a network, a central office coupled to the

network, a remote control tuning device, and a

communication device. The remote control tuning device

includes a memory, a microprocessor controlled by a

program stored in the memory, a manual input device, a

transmitter, and a set of prompting rules. The manual

input device is selectively operable by a user of the

tuner at a location remote from the tuner and is arranged

to output a tuning command and a persons datum to the

microprocessor. The microprocessor is arranged to store

the tuning command, the persons datum, and a time stamp

in the memory. The transmitter is controlled by the

microprocessor and is arranged to transmit the tuning

command to the tuner. The set of prompting rules is

stored in the memory and is used by the program to

determine when to prompt the user to enter the persons datum. The communication device is coupled to the

network and is arranged to communicate the tuning event,

the persons datum, and the time stamp to the central

office

In accordance with a further aspect of the

present invention, a method is provided to collect the

identity of a person using a monitored broadcast receiver in a statistically selected premises. The monitored

broadcast receiver has a transceiver adjacent thereto, and the monitored broadcast receiver is controlled by a signal from a remote control having a manual tuning input

device and a manual persons datum input device . The method comprises the following steps: a) transmitting a persons datum from the remote control in response to the

person using the manual persons datum input device; b)

receiving the persons datum at the transceiver; c) storing the persons datum in a memory operatively

associated with the transceiver; d) transmitting an

acknowledgment message from the transceiver; e)

receiving the acknowledgment message at the remote control; and, f) displaying, on a display portion of the

remote control, a representation of the persons datum.

In accordance with yet a further aspect of the

present invention, a method is provided to collect the

identity of a person using a tuner located in a

statistically selected premises. The tuner is controlled

by a signal from a remote control having a manual input device, a display, and a microprocessor operating under

the control of a stored program. The method comprises the following steps : a) receiving a manual input provided by the person; b) displaying, on the display, a representation of the input if the input is an identity datum; c) storing the input with a corresponding time

stamp; and, d) communicating the input and corresponding

time stamp to a central office.

In accordance with a still further aspect of

the present invention, a remote control for remotely

controlling a tuner comprises a display, a manual input

device, and a controller. The controller is coupled to

the display and the manual input device, and. the

controller is arranged to accept an input from the manual input device indicating an identification of a member of

an audience of the tuner and to control the display to

display the identification.

Brief Description of the Drawings

These and other features and advantages of the

present invention will become more apparent from a

detailed consideration of the invention when taken in

conjunction with the drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of an audience

measurement system in accordance with the present

invention;

Figure 2 is an elevational view of a portable

remote control device which is in accordance with the

present invention and which may be used with the audience

measurement system of Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a schematic block diagram of the

circuitry of the portable remote control device of Figure

2;

Figure 4 is a software state diagram showing

the operation of a first embodiment of the portable remote control device of Figure 2 and of a measurement

apparatus of the audience measurement system shown in

Figure 1 ;

Figure 5 is a software state diagram showing

the operation of a second embodiment the portable remote

control device of Figure 2; and,

Figure 6 is a schematic block diagram of the

measurement apparatus of the audience measurement system

shown in Figure 1.

Detailed Description of the Invention

As shown in Figure 1, an audience measurement

system 10 is provided at a statistically selected

location 12 in which known viewers are members of a

broadcast audience. The audience measurement system 10

includes a portable remote control device 14 which

controls a television receiver 16. For example, the

portable remote control device 14 can be used from a

remote viewing position 18 in order to change the

channel, volume level, and so on of the television

receiver 16. The audience measurement system 10 is arranged to log data on audience membership (hereinafter

"persons data" or "persons status data" ) . The audience

measurement system 10 may be arranged to also log tuning

data regarding the programs and/or channels to which the

television receiver 16 is tuned. Periodically, the

logged data is transmitted to a data collection central

office 20 over a network 22. The network 22 may be a public switched telephone network, as is conventional practice in the audience measurement art .

In a first embodiment of the present invention, the portable remote control device 14 is slaved to a measurement apparatus 24 which is installed adjacent to

the television receiver 16. The measurement apparatus 24 both records tuning and persons data and controls the

portable remote control device 14 in order to display

viewer status (present/not present) . In a second

embodiment of the present invention, the portable remote control device 14 not only functions as a portable remote

control device for the television receiver 16, but is

also arranged to act as an electronic diary by storing

tuning and persons data. As will be discussed at greater length hereinafter, the tuning and persons data

accumulated according to either embodiment can be

communicated to the data collection central office 20 by

a variety of techniques known to those skilled in the

art .

The audience measurement system 10 includes a

data storage and forwarding unit 26 which collects the

tuning and persons data from the measurement apparatus 24

and which stores the tuning and persons data until a

scheduled forwarding time when the tuning and persons

data are forwarded to the data collection central office

20. The data storage and forwarding unit 26 may also

store and forward tuning and persons data collected from

a measurement apparatus associated with each of the other

television receivers (not shown) located in the

statistically selected location 12.

When the portable remote control device 14 is

slaved to the measurement apparatus 24 according to the

first embodiment of the present invention, the portable

remote control device 14 may be configured as a half

duplex or full duplex transceiver of encoded infra-red pulse streams so that it can communicate with a

transceiver 32 of the measurement apparatus 24 in a

bidirectional communication arrangement. According to

the second embodiment, the portable remote control device

14 may be configured as a simplex transmitter which

transmits, an encoded stream of near infra-red pulses 30

unidirectionally to a photosensor receiver coupled to the

tuner of the television receiver 16.

The measurement apparatus 24 can comprise logic

and a memory so that the current tuning and persons

status can be determined by the measurement apparatus 24

based upon inputs from the portable remote control device

14 and then communicated to the data storage and

forwarding unit 26. Alternatively or additionally, the

measurement apparatus 24 may receive a signal replica

from a signal detector 34. For example, this signal

detector 34 may be in the form of a video signal source

detector such as that disclosed by Chan, in issued U.S.

Patent Application Serial No. 08/654,309. This video

signal source detector may be positioned as taught in the

Chan application to acquire a replica of a video signal from an input to a CRT of the television receiver 16.

Alternatively or additionally, the signal detector 34 may

be in the form of a microphone which acquires a replica

of an audio output from a speaker of the television

receiver 16. Accordingly, the signal detector 34 is

arranged to non-intrusively acquire from the television

receiver 16 a replica of the video and/or audio signal

processed by the television receiver 16.

The signal replica acquired by the signal

detector 34 can then be processed by the measurement

apparatus 24 according to a variety of tuning measurement

methodologies. For example, (i) an ancillary video

and/or audio code identifying the tuned television

program or channel can be read from the signal replica,

if present, (ii) video and/or audio feature signatures

characteristic of the tuned television program can be

extracted from the signal replica and compared to

reference signatures in order to identify the program or

channel, or (iii) the signal replica can be correlated

with a contemporary reference signal obtained by a reference scanning tuner controlled by the measurement

apparatus 24 in order to identify the program or channel.

As a further alternative, the signal detector

34 may be arranged to detect the local oscillator

frequency of the television receiver 16. This local

oscillator frequency indicates the channel to which the

television receiver 16 is tuned, as is known in the

audience measurement art .

Moreover, whether or not the signal detector 34

is employed, the measurement apparatus 24 may receive an

ON/OFF input from an ON/OFF sensor 36. The ON/OFF sensor

36, for example, may be an inductive sensor which, as is

well known, determines that the television receiver 16 is

on by detecting the horizontal retrace frequency of the

CRT of the television receiver 16. However, such an

inductive sensor is practical, for the most part, only if

the television receiver 16 uses a CRT display.

Accordingly, the ON/OFF sensor 36 may have a

photodetector probe 38 positioned in relation to the

screen display of the television receiver 16 so that

changing light levels or the amount of light emanating from the screen display can be used to indicate when the

television receiver 16 is on or off. The ON/OFF sensor

36 of this latter type can be used to determine the

status of any video display.

The portable remote control device 14 may have

a user interface as shown in Figure 2. This user

interface includes a keypad 40 and a display 42 which

allow viewers to remotely control the television receiver

16 and to input data regarding the viewers' identities.

The keypad 40 includes buttons 40a to allow a viewer to

enter channel numbers, to change channels up and down, to

increase and decrease volume, to mute the television

receiver 16, and to turn the television receiver 16 on

and off. The buttons 40a may include other buttons as

well. For example, an appliance select button or buttons

such as TV/VCR (not shown) may also be provided. The

keypad 40 also includes buttons 40b which permit viewers

to identify themselves when they are in the viewing

audience .

The display 42, for example, may be a panel

capable of displaying eight lines of characters divided into two columns with up to twenty characters per line.

The buttons 40b are provided along the sides of the

display 42. When a new viewer begins viewing of the

television receiver 16, that new viewer (or any other

viewer) simply presses a corresponding one of the buttons

40b in order to enter the new viewer's identification

into the audience measurement system 10. The new

viewer's name appears on the display 42 as feedback

acknowledging that the new viewer has pressed an

identification button and that the audience measurement

system 10 has received the identification. The names of

all other viewers currently in the audience of the

television receiver 16 are also displayed. When a viewer

ends a viewing session, the viewer again presses the

corresponding one of the buttons 40b which removes the

viewer's name from the display 42.

Alternatively, the names of all viewers at the

statistically selected location 12 may be continuously

displayed whenever the television receiver 16 is in use

whether or not the viewers are in the audience in order

to continually remind the viewers which buttons 40b are associated with which viewers. In this case, a tone

and/or other audible signal, or another visible indicator

such as a mark displayed in the display 42 next to a

viewer's identification, may be provided as feedback

acknowledging that a viewer has pressed an identification

button 40b to record that the viewer has either entered

or left the viewing area.

The user interface may also include an alpha

keypad (not shown) so that the viewers ' names and

appropriate demographic information may be associated

with corresponding ones of the buttons 40b and may be

stored in a memory of the portable remote control device

14, in a memory of the measurement apparatus 24, and/or

in a memory of the data storage and forwarding unit 26.

Accordingly, when a viewer presses an identification

button, the time and date of the press, the appropriate

identification, and the appropriate demographic

information may be stored with the corresponding tuning

data for future transmission to the data collection

central office 20. On the other hand, the viewers'

identification and demographic information could be stored at the data collection central office 20 so that

the portable remote control device 14 , the measurement

apparatus 24 , and/or the data storage and forwarding unit

26 need only store the corresponding tuning data and the

time and date that each identification button is pressed

for future transmission to the data collection central

office 20. In this latter case, the data collection

central office 20 makes the association between presses

of the buttons 40b and the corresponding identifications

and demographic information stored at the data collection

central office 20.

Instead of providing the user interface of the

portable remote control device 14 with an alpha keypad as

described above, the portable remote control device 14

may have a port for receiving a connection to a data

entry device carrier by an installer. In this case,

during installation of the audience measurement system

10, the installer plugs the data entry device into the

corresponding port of the portable remote control device

14 and enters the appropriate identification and/or

appropriate demographic information into the memory of the portable remote control device 14 so that each viewer

is linked to one of the identification buttons 40b.

In controlling the television receiver 16, the

portable remote control device 14 preferably operates in the manner of a conventional universal remote control

capable of controlling two or more tuner appliances, such as a television receiver, a VCR, and/or a cable

converter. Such a universal remote control conventionally uses several different code sets so that

it can operate in multiple viewer-selected modes. One or more of these modes can be used to transmit a tuning or other command (e.g., a fast forward command sent to a VCR) to the currently active tuner (e.g., the tuner of

television receiver 16 or of a set-top cable converter or

of a VCR) controlling the video display of the television

receiver 16. In addition, in the first embodiment of the

present invention as mentioned above, one of the modes of

the portable remote control device 14 is also used to

transmit a persons datum to the measurement apparatus 24.

Optionally, the keypad 40 of the portable

remote control device 14 may also include buttons which may be pressed to enter the gender and age of the viewers

and an OK button which may function as an enter button.

The gender and age buttons are particularly useful in

providing information about guests who are also in the

viewing audience . Age may be entered through the use of

up and down buttons as shown in Figure 2. Alternatively,

age may be entered through the use of the buttons 40a.

An electronic processor 50 housed within the

portable remote control device 14 is shown in Figure 3

and includes a microprocessor 52 suitably connected to

the keypad 40, the display 42, a ROM 54, a RAM 56, and a

transceiver 58. The microprocessor 52 operates under

control of a program stored in the ROM 54. The input of

the viewer from the keypad 40 is interpreted and is

reformatted by the microprocessor 52 as an output that is

sent to the RAM 56, to the display 42, or to the

transceiver 58, depending on the program that the

microprocessor 52 is running. When the portable remote

control device 14 is operated according to the first

embodiment of the invention, the RAM 56 is used primarily

for short term data buffering. However, when the portable remote control device 14 is operated according

to the second embodiment of the invention (as an

electronic diary) , the RAM 56 may be required to store

several days' worth of data. Hence, the RAM 56 must be

significantly larger in the second embodiment than in the

first embodiment .

Additionally, when the portable remote control

device 14 is used according to the second embodiment as

an electronic diary, the electronic processor 50 is

provided with an interface 60 for use in uploading data

stored in the RAM 56 to the data collection central

office 20 as described below. In this embodiment, the

portable remote control device 14 is preferably

configured with a half duplex or full duplex transceiver,

and the RAM 56 is of sufficient size to store as many

changes in tuning or audience composition as are expected

to occur during a viewing measurement period, which is

commonly a day or a week. The data stored in the RAM 56

can be communicated to the data collection central office

20, for example, by plugging the portable remote control

device 14 into a docking station 62 (Figure 1) which may be similar to those used to communicate data between two

computers or between a computer and a network server, and

which is connected to the data storage and forwarding

unit 26. Accordingly, the data stored in the RAM 56 can

be uploaded to the data storage and forwarding unit 26 by

use of the interface 60 and the docking station 62, and

the data stored in the data storage and forwarding unit

26 can be subsequently uploaded to the data collection

central office 20 over the network 22.

Alternatively, the data stored in the RAM 56

can be physically transported (such as by mail) to the

central office, or the data stored in the RAM 56 can be

transmitted by way of the transceiver 58 to the

transceiver 32, then to the data storage and forwarding

unit 26, and finally to the data collection central

office 20 over the network 22.

When the portable remote control device 14 is

operated according to the first embodiment, a program

represented by the state diagram of Figure 4 may be

executed by the microprocessor 52 and by the measurement

apparatus 24. In a state 70 of the portable remote control device 14, each press of a key on the keypad 40

results in a corresponding signal being transmitted by

the transceiver 58 to the measurement apparatus 24. In a

state 72, the measurement apparatus 24 decodes the

signals it receives from the portable remote control

device 14. Also in the state 72, the measurement

apparatus 24 compares each newly received message with

earlier data in order to determine if a change in

audience composition or in tuning has occurred.

If a change in audience composition has

occurred, the measurement apparatus 24 transmits an

acknowledgment message back to the portable remote

control device 14 and enters a state 74. In response to

the acknowledgment message, the portable remote control

device 14 transitions to a state 76. In the state 74,

the measurement apparatus 24 causes the persons data to

be stored in the RAM 56 along with a time stamp and the

current tuning status of the appliance (such as the

television receiver 16, a VCR, or a cable converter)

being controlled. In the state 76, the portable remote

control device 14 causes the name or other identification indication of the new viewer to be displayed on the

display 42. If the acknowledgment message from the

measurement apparatus 24 is not received by the portable

remote control device 14 within an appropriate amount of

time, the portable remote control device 14 returns to

the state 70 where it prompts the viewer by a suitable

display on the display 42 to re-enter the current

audience status. Alternatively, this prompting message

may instead be an audible prompt (such as a beep or a

series of beeps) or other type of visual prompt (such as

a flashing light emitting diode) .

If a change in tuning has occurred, the

measurement apparatus 24 enters the state 7 . In the

state 74, the measurement apparatus 24 causes the tuning

data to be stored in its RAM along with a time stamp and

the current persons data.

If the measurement apparatus 24 receives a

message from the portable remote control device 14

indicating a change in audience composition, but

determines from the earlier data that, in fact, no change

in audience composition has occurred, the measurement apparatus 24 transmits a suitable error message back to

the portable remote control device 14 for display on the

display 42.

When the portable remote control device 14 is

operated according to the second embodiment, a program

represented by the state diagram of Figure 5 may be

executed by the microprocessor 52. In a state 80, each

keypad input is analyzed in order to determine if the

input is a change in audience status or a tuning command.

If there has been a change in audience status, the

current audience status is displayed by the display 42,

and the current audience status is also stored along with

a time stamp and the current tuning status in the RAM 56.

Each tuning command is transmitted to the tuner of the

appliance under control (such as the tuner of the

television receiver 16, a VCR, or a cable converter) and

is stored in the RAM 56.

Also, a set of prompting rules 82 is

appropriately invoked in order to determine if and when

the viewer is to be prompted to input current audience

status data. Too frequent prompting (e.g., after each one of a series of channel changes that occur in short

interval) can lead to reduced cooperation. Conversely,

never reminding the viewer to enter audience status data

can encourage the viewer to ignore entering such data.

Hence, the prompting rules 82 are based on parameters,

such as the elapsed time since a channel change or the

elapsed time since audience status data were last

entered, that seek to optimize cooperation and accuracy.

According to an exemplary set of prompting

rules, a prompt lasting for a first period of time (such -

as forty-five seconds) may be given whenever the

television receiver 16 is turned on, after a time lapse

(such as forty-seven minutes) from the last press of a

key on the portable remote control device 14 , and/or

whenever key entries are incomplete. Also, a prompt

lasting for a second period of time (such as seventy-five

seconds) may be given after a time lapse (such as forty-

two minutes) from the last press of a key on the portable

remote control device 14 if one or more persons are

logged in, and/or periodically (such as once every ten

minutes) after the last press of a key on the portable remote control device 14 if no persons are logged in.

The prompts described above may be differentiated such as

by color depending upon the event which triggers the

prompt .

Other events may also be used to trigger

prompts. Such other events include, for example, a

channel change when no viewer is logged in, the passage of a predetermined number of days when a particular

household member has not logged in, the passage of a predetermined number of days when a short term visitor has not logged in, no log ins when the television receiver 16 is turned on, no log ins of particular

household members (such as children) when the television receiver 16 is tuned to particular programs (such as

children's programming, and the like.

An electronic processor 90 of the measurement

apparatus 24 is shown in Figure 6 and includes a

microprocessor 92 suitably connected to the transceiver

32, the signal detector 34, a ROM 94, a RAM 96, and an

interface 98. The transceiver 32, controlled by the microprocessor 92 executing a program stored in the ROM 94, is used to receive tuning status and persons status

data from the portable remote control device 14. The

tuning status data, along with the current audience

status data and a time stamp, are saved in the RAM 96.

Optionally or alternatively, the measurement apparatus 24

may also respond to the signal detector 34, as discussed

above, in order to identify the displayed program from

codes, signatures, or correlations, or to determine the

tuned channel such as by detecting the local oscillator

frequency of the television receiver 16. This

information can be stored in the RAM 96. The measurement

apparatus 24 additionally may be arranged to determine

the ON/OFF status of the television receiver 16 from the

ON/OFF sensor 36 in order to prompt the viewer to

indicate audience status by use of the portable remote

control device 14 in accordance with a set of prompting

rules. As discussed above, the measurement apparatus 24

transmits the tuning and audience status data to the data

storage and forwarding unit 26 by means of the interface

98. The portable remote control device 14 is

preferably constrained to display audience status data

that is the same as the audience status data currently

stored in the measurement apparatus 24. This constraint

implies that the measurement apparatus 24 and the

portable remote control device 14 communicate by way of a

duplex or half-duplex link, rather than by using a

simplex scheme which is common in television remote controls. Any of several known communication protocols may be used to assure that the displayed audience status data and the stored audience status data match. For

example, the measurement apparatus 24 could transmit a fixed acknowledgment message to the portable remote control device 14 each time a new persons status datum is

received, and the portable remote control device 14 would

then display the current persons status only if it

receives the acknowledgment message within a

predetermined interval after transmitting the persons

status datum. Otherwise, the portable remote control

device 14 would prompt re-transmission of the persons status datum. Alternatively, the persons status data transmitted by the portable remote control device 14

could be re-transmitted by the measurement apparatus 24

back to the portable remote control device 14 as the

acknowledgment message .

Thus, the present invention as described above

provides a display of the current audience status on a

portable remote control device which may be disposed at

or near a viewing location from which a broadcast

audience member views television programming. Displaying

the audience status on a small, viewer-proximate,

display, instead of displaying that information on a

separate display adjacent a television receiver, allows a

broadcast audience research company to use smaller, less

obtrusive equipment. Moreover, viewing of the display 42

is limited for the most part to the field of view of the

person entering data into the measurement system and,

thus, does not attract the attention of visitors to the

statistically selected location 12.

Certain modifications of the present invention

have been discussed above. Other modifications will

occur to those practicing in the art of the present invention. For example, the measurement apparatus 24 has

been described above as essentially a smart terminal.

However, the measurement apparatus 24 may instead be

configured as a dumb terminal of a local host computer

which is disposed elsewhere in the statistically selected location 12 and which collects the tuning and persons

data.

Also, it is noted that the portable remote control device 14 may function in several different modes as described above. However, each of these modes may use

a separate corresponding remote control each having substantially the same external appearance and user interface as the portable remote control device 14 shown in Figure 2.

Furthermore, the present invention as described

above relies on the use of certain infrared transceivers.

However, it will be appreciated that other signaling

modes, such as ultrasonic or spread-spectrum radio, could

instead be employed.

In addition, the present invention as described

above relies on the use of transceivers. Instead, a separate receiver and transmitter could be used in place

of each transceiver.

Moreover, when the portable remote control

device 14 is used in accordance with the second

embodiment, it may be assumed that all tuning is done

with the portable remote control device 14. In this

case, the portable remote control device 14 would store

all tuning and persons status inputs from the keypad 40

in the RAM 56 for subsequent communication to the data

collection central office 20, such that the signal

detector 34 and even the measurement apparatus 24 need

not be used or provided. Indeed, the data storage and

forwarding unit 26 can also be eliminated if the portable

remote control device 14 is arranged to transmit tuning

and audience status data directly to the data collection

central office 20. To facilitate such data transmission,

the portable remote control device 14 can be provided

with the interface 60 or a cellular telephone or other

communication apparatus .

However, it must be recognized that tuning can

be effected instead by use of controls on the appliance itself or by use of a remote control that was provided as

original equipment with the appliance. Therefore, the

signal detector 34 is preferably included in the audience

measurement system 10. Alternatively, the measurement

apparatus 24 could be programmed to occasionally repeat

the tuning command most recently received from the

portable remote control device 14 in order to force the

viewer to thereby re-tune the appliance by use of the

portable remote control device 14 to the channel selected

by a means other than the portable remote control device

14.

Also, as describe above, the portable remote

control device 14 according to the first embodiment of

the invention transmits tuning commands which are

received by both the controlled tuner and by the

measurement apparatus 24. The controlled tuner responds

by effecting the tuning indicated by the tuning command,

and the measurement apparatus 24 responds by recording

the tuning event. Instead, in accordance with the

teachings of U.S. Patent No. 4,876,736, the portable

remote control device 14 may be arranged to transmit tuning commands using codes recognized by the measurement

apparatus 24 but not by the controlled tuner. Thus, the

measurement apparatus 24 records the tuning event,

converts the code into a form recognized by the

controlled tuner, and passes the converted tuning command

on to the controlled tuner.

Furthermore, iconic symbols, which may in the

form of buttons, may be used to indicate the significance

of the various buttons of the portable remote control

device 14 to the users, particularly children and

illiterate users.

In addition, the display 42 is shown in Figure

as a screen arranged to display characters of a viewer's

identification. Instead, the display may be a light

emitting device such as an LED which is assigned to the

member of the audience and which emits light to indicate

the presence of the member in the audience .

Alternatively, the display may be first and second light

devices where the first light emitting device emits light

to indicate the presence of the viewer in the audience, and where the second light emitting device emits light to

indicate the absence of the viewer from the audience .

Moreover, there is a potential problem if

multiple portable remote control devices 14 for multiple

corresponding televisions are used in the same household. If portable remote control devices are accidentally (or

intentionally) exchanged by household members, and these portable remote control devices archive the viewing (and

even tuning) information for later downloading, then the tuning may be mis-attributed to the wrong television. A

solution to this problem would be to associate a unique ID code to each television location that authorizes the portable remote control device to work only at that location.

Also, a different portable remote control

device 14 could be assigned to each person in the

household (with additional portable remote control

devices provided to visitors) . Each person would then

carry that person's portable remote control device within

the household. In this case, it is preferable if the

portable remote control device 14 were a universal television controller intended to operate multiple tuners

such as every television in the household.

Furthermore, the portable remote control device

14 can be provided with multiple levels of prompts. For

example, at the lowest level, the screen back-light could

be flashed for 10 seconds and provides a suitable display

such as "Update the audience or confirm with OK" . If the

audience responds appropriately, the portable remote

control device 14 resumes normal operation. If the

audience does not respond appropriately, the portable

remote control device 14 waits for a first predetermined

amount of time (e.g. 20 seconds), then the portable

remote control device 14 again flashes the screen back¬

light for 10 seconds and provides the display requesting

the audience to update or confirm as before. This prompt

may be repeated for up to CI cycles . After CI cycles

have passed without appropriate audience response, the

portable remote control device 14 flashes the screen

back-light for 20 seconds at a higher flash rate and

displays "Update the audience or confirm with OK" . If

the audience responds appropriately, the portable remote control device 14 resumes normal operation. If the

audience does not respond appropriately, the portable

remote control device 14 waits mode for a second

predetermined amount of time (e.g. 30 seconds), then

prompts, waits, and so on for up to C2 cycles. If the

audience does not respond appropriately within the C2

cycles, the portable remote control device 14 flashes the

screen back-light at a still higher flash rate for 20

seconds and displays "Update the audience or confirm with

OK." If audience responds appropriately, the portable

remote control device 14 resumes normal operation. If

audience does not respond appropriately, the portable

remote control device 14 waits for a third predetermined

amount of time (e.g. 60 seconds), then the portable

remote control device 14 prompts, waits, and so on for up

to C3 cycles. After C3 cycles have passed without

appropriate audience response, the portable remote

control device 14 enters a rest phase with the normal

screen display "Update the audience or confirm with OK"

remains . In addition, it is desirable for viewers to

update audience composition without prompting as changes

in audience composition occur. Prompting serves mainly

as a fail-safe, when sufficient time has elapsed without

any unprompted change or confirmation of viewing status.

Therefore, the portable remote control device 14 may be

provided with a timer that is reset by any data or status

confirmation entry and that initiates two distinct

prompts - a "soft" self-terminating prompt that serves as

an anticipatory cue prior to a "hard" prompt that

continues until a response is registered. The hard

prompt serves both as a mild negative reinforcement for

the audience having failed to operate the portable remote

control device 14 proactively, and as a fail-safe to

obtain confirmation or audience change information in the

absence of proactive data entry. The soft prompt serves

to train audience members to anticipate and ultimately

prevent the appearance of prompts - and thus to report

audience change information closer to the time it

actually occurs. As an additional contingency, the interval

between prompts could be lengthened or shortened in order

to reinforce timely entry of audience changes. This

adjustment to the length of the prompting interval could

be based on the data entry performance of viewers. For

example, if a viewer typically waits until a prompt

appears before reporting an earlier audience change, then

the data record will show an improbably high proportion of reported audience changes coinciding with the appearance of the prompt. If this pattern of performance is observed, the prompting software may shorten the

interval between prompts . Shortening the interval between prompts will reduce any possible lags between the

occurrence and reporting of audience changes, as well as to provide a mild negative reinforcement for respondents

who fail to report audience changes as they occur.

Alternatively, it is possible that viewers will

report audience changes when they occur and that the

intervals between prompts are shorter than the interval

during which no audience change actually occurs. The

only way that a viewer in this situation may prevent the prompt from occurring would be to periodically press the

OK button just to reset the prompt timer, even though the

currently indicated audience status has not changed.

Many viewers in this situation might allow the prompt to

come on, at which point they would not change the

audience entry, but merely press the OK button to

indicate that the audience has not changed. Since no

data error has occurred, if this pattern of performance

is observed (repeated confirmations that no audience

change has occurred in response to prompts) , it may be

that the prompting interval is more frequent than

required for this viewer. In this instance, the

prompting software may lengthen the interval between

prompts to provide a positive reinforcement. Indeed,

different prompting intervals could be set for various

viewers on the same people meter, depending on their

previous performance .

Accordingly, the description of the present

invention is to be construed as illustrative only and is

for the purpose of teaching those skilled in the art the

best mode of carrying out the invention. The details may be varied substantially without departing from the spirit

of the invention, and the exclusive use of all

modifications which are within the scope of the appended

claims is reserved.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A system comprising an input device and an
apparatus, wherein the input device has a transmitter and
a display, wherein the input device is remote from a
broadcast receiving appliance and is operable by a person
to input an identification, wherein the transmitter is
arranged to transmit the identification, wherein the
apparatus is located adjacent the broadcast receiving
appliance and has a receiver arranged to receive the
identification, wherein the display is arranged to
display the identification in response to a message from
the apparatus indicating that the apparatus received the
identification, and wherein the apparatus has a
transmitter arranged to transmit the message in response
to receiving the identification.
2. The system of claim 1 wherein the apparatus
includes a memory, and wherein the apparatus stores the
identification in the memory.
3. The system of claim 1 wherein the apparatus
includes a memory, and wherein the apparatus stores a
tuning event in the memory.
4. The system of claim 1 wherein the apparatus
includes a memory, and wherein the apparatus stores the identification and a tuning event in the memory.
5. A remote control device for use in
connection with a broadcast receiving and tuning appliance, the remote control device comprising: a manual data entry device operable by a user
of the broadcast receiving and tuning appliance to generate a tuning output and a person's identification
outpu ; a transmitter arranged to transmit the tuning output to the broadcast receiving and tuning appliance ; a display; a memory storing a set of prompting rules,
wherein the prompting rules, when executed, are arranged to prompt the user of the broadcast receiving and tuning
appliance; and,
a microprocessor controlled by a program stored
in the memory, wherein the microprocessor controls the
display to display a representation of the person's
identification output and executes the prompting rules.
6. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes:
a first prompt lasting for a first period of
time which is given whenever the broadcast receiving and
tuning appliance is turned on, after a time lapse from
the last manual data entry, and/or whenever manual data
entry is incomplete;
a second prompt lasting for a second period of
time which is given after a time lapse from the last
manual data entry if one or more persons are logged in,
and/or periodically after the last manual data entry if
no persons are logged in.
7. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes a prompt which is given whenever the broadcast
receiving and tuning appliance is turned on.
8. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes a prompt which is given after a time lapse from
the last manual data entry.
9. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes a prompt which is given whenever manual data
entry is incomplete.
10. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes a prompt which is given after a time lapse from
the last manual data entry if one or more persons are
logged in.
11. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes a prompt which is given periodically after the
last manual data entry if no persons are logged in.
12. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules includes a prompt which is given upon a channel change
when no viewer is logged in.
13. The remote control device of claim 5 wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes a prompt which is given upon the passage of a
predetermined number of days when a particular household member has not logged in.
14. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes a prompt which is given upon the passage of a
predetermined number of days when a short term visitor
has not logged in.
15. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes a prompt which is given upon no log ins during a
time that the broadcast receiving and tuning appliance is
turned on.
16. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes a prompt which is given upon no log ins of
particular household members when the broadcast receiving
and tuning appliance is tuned to particular program
types.
17. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes a self-terminating soft prompt which is given
upon expiration of timer that is reset by any data or
status confirmation entry and a hard prompt that
continues until a response is registered.
18. The remote control device of claim 5
wherein the prompting rules in the set of prompting rules
includes prompts which flash at different rates.
19. An audience measurement system for
collecting tuning and persons data at a viewing location
remote from a monitored television having an ON state and an OFF state, the apparatus comprising:
an input device at the viewing location, the
input device including a manual data input device operable by a
person to input an identification, an input device transmitter arranged to
transmit the identification, an input device receiver arranged to receive a message, and
a display arranged to display a
representation of the identification
in response to the input device
receiver receiving the message; and, a measurement apparatus adjacent to the
monitored television, the measurement apparatus including
a microprocessor controlled by a program
stored in a memory,
a sensor arranged to determine when the
monitored television is in the ON
state,
a measurement apparatus receiver arranged
to receive the identification from
the input device, and
a measurement apparatus transmitter
arranged to transmit an
acknowledgment of receipt of the
identification in response to
execution of the program by the
microprocessor.
20. An audience measurement system for
collecting data at a viewing location associated with a
tuner located within a statistically selected premises,
the system comprising: a network;
a central office coupled to the network;
a remote control tuning device including
a memory,
a microprocessor controlled by a program
stored in the memory;
a manual input device selectively operable
by a user of the tuner at a location
remote from the tuner, the manual
input device being arranged to output
a tuning command and a persons datum
to the microprocessor, wherein the
microprocessor is arranged to store
the tuning command, the persons
datum, and a time stamp in the
memory,
a transmitter controlled by the
microprocessor and arranged to
transmit the tuning command to the
tune , and a set of prompting rules stored in the
memory and used by the program to
determine when to prompt the user to
enter the persons datum; and,
a communication device coupled to the network
and arranged to communicate the tuning event, the persons
datum, and the time stamp to the central office.
21. A method of collecting the identity of a
person using a monitored broadcast receiver in a
statistically selected premises, the monitored broadcast
receiver having a transceiver adjacent thereto, the
monitored broadcast receiver controlled by a signal from
a remote control having a manual tuning input device and
a manual persons datum input device, the method
comprising the following steps:
a) transmitting a persons datum from the remote
control in response to the person using the manual
persons datum input device;
b) receiving the persons datum at the
transceiver; c) storing the persons datum in a memory
operatively associated with the transceiver;
d) transmitting an acknowledgment message from
the transceiver;
e) receiving the acknowledgment message at the
remote control; and,
f) displaying, on a display portion of the
remote control, a representation of the persons datum.
22. A method of collecting the identity of a
person using a tuner located in a statistically selected
premises, the tuner controlled by a signal from a remote
control having a manual input device, a display, and a
microprocessor operating under the control of a stored
program, the method comprising the following steps:
a) receiving a manual input provided by the
person;
b) displaying, on the display, a representation
of the input if the input is an identity datum;
c) storing the input with a corresponding time
stamp; d) communicating the input and corresponding
time stamp to a central office.
23. The method of claim 22 wherein the input
is a tuning command.
24. The method of claim 22 wherein the input
is an identity datum.
25. The method of claim 22 wherein the input
is a tuning command and an identity datum.
26. A remote control for remotely controlling
a tuner, the remote control comprising:
a display;
a manual input device; and,
a controller coupled to the display and the
manual input device, wherein the controller is arranged
to accept an input from the manual input device
indicating an identification of a member of an audience
of the tuner and to control the display to display the
identification.
27. The remote control of claim 26 wherein the
controller includes a memory, and wherein the controller
is arranged to store the identification in the memory.
28. The remote control of claim 27 further
comprising a transmitter, wherein the transmitter is arranged to transmit a tuning event initiated by way of
the manual input device, and wherein the controller is arranged to store the tuning event with the identification in the memory.
29. The remote control of claim 28 wherein the
controller is arranged to store a time stamp with the tuning event and the identification in the memory.
30. The remote control of claim 26 further
comprising a transmitter, wherein the transmitter is
arranged to transmit a tuning event initiated by way of
the manual input device, and wherein the controller is
arranged to store the tuning event in the memory.
31. The remote control of claim 30 wherein the
controller is arranged to store a time stamp with the
tuning event in the memory.
32. The remote control of claim 26 further
comprising a transmitter, and wherein the transmitter is
arranged to transmit the identification in response to
operation of the manual input device.
33. The remote control of claim 26 further
comprising a receiver, wherein the controller is arranged
to control the display to display the identification only
if the receiver receives an acknowledgment message.
34. The remote control of claim 33 further
comprising a transmitter, wherein the transmitter is
arranged to transmit the identification in response to
operation of the manual input device .
35. The remote control of claim 26 wherein the
display is a screen arranged to display characters of the
identification .
36. The remote control of claim 26 wherein the
display is a light emitting device assigned to the member
of the audience, and wherein the light emitting device emits light to indicate the presence of the member in the
audience .
37. The remote control of claim 36 wherein the light emitting device is a first light emitting device,
wherein the display includes a second light emitting device assigned to the member of the audience, and wherein the light second emitting device emits light to indicate the absence of the member from the audience .
PCT/US2000/007572 1999-05-20 2000-03-22 Viewer identification apparatus for use in a broadcast audience measurement WO2000072484A9 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US31528699 true 1999-05-20 1999-05-20
US09/315,286 1999-05-20

Applications Claiming Priority (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
EP20000918237 EP1186127A1 (en) 1999-05-20 2000-03-22 Viewer identification apparatus for use in a broadcast audience measurement
CA 2371499 CA2371499A1 (en) 1999-05-20 2000-03-22 Viewer identification apparatus for use in a broadcast audience measurement
JP2000620768A JP2003500980A (en) 1999-05-20 2000-03-22 Viewer authentication device for use in audience measurement

Publications (2)

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WO2000072484A1 true WO2000072484A1 (en) 2000-11-30
WO2000072484A9 true true WO2000072484A9 (en) 2002-07-11

Family

ID=23223721

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Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
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EP (1) EP1186127A1 (en)
JP (1) JP2003500980A (en)
CN (1) CN1369151A (en)
CA (1) CA2371499A1 (en)
WO (1) WO2000072484A9 (en)

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US9027043B2 (en) 2003-09-25 2015-05-05 The Nielsen Company (Us), Llc Methods and apparatus to detect an operating state of a display
US9015743B2 (en) 2004-08-09 2015-04-21 The Nielsen Company (Us), Llc Methods and apparatus to monitor audio/visual content from various sources
US9301007B2 (en) 2004-08-09 2016-03-29 The Nielsen Company (Us), Llc Methods and apparatus to monitor audio/visual content from various sources
US9118962B2 (en) 2005-03-17 2015-08-25 The Nielsen Company (Us), Llc Methods and apparatus for using audience member behavior information to determine compliance with audience measurement system usage requirements
US9167298B2 (en) 2005-03-17 2015-10-20 The Nielsen Company (Us), Llc Methods and apparatus for using audience member behavior information to determine compliance with audience measurement system usage requirements
US9420334B2 (en) 2005-08-16 2016-08-16 The Nielsen Company (Us), Llc Display device on/off detection methods and apparatus
US9312973B2 (en) 2008-09-30 2016-04-12 The Nielsen Company (Us), Llc Methods and apparatus for determining whether a media presentation device is in an on state or an off state using fuzzy scores and signature matches
US9294813B2 (en) 2008-10-31 2016-03-22 The Nielsen Company (Us), Llc Probabilistic methods and apparatus to determine the state of a media device

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
CN1369151A (en) 2002-09-11 application
JP2003500980A (en) 2003-01-07 application
WO2000072484A1 (en) 2000-11-30 application
CA2371499A1 (en) 2000-11-30 application
EP1186127A1 (en) 2002-03-13 application

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