Sample One or more elements (individuals or households) selected from a universe to represent that universe.

Sample Size The number of households or individuals selected for a research sample.

Sampling Error The difference between the survey results obtained with a sample, and the results that would be obtained with a complete study of the entire population using the same procedures used for the sample.

Satellite Synchronous communications satellite orbiting earth from a stationary position 22,300 miles above the equator and transmitting television and other signals.

Satellite Master Antenna Television (SMATV) A SMATV usually serves a housing complex or hotel.  Here the television signals are received via satellite and over the air broadcast stations and distributed to the units by coaxial cable.  Households may be charged a fee for maintenance of a SMATV.  

Satellite Receiver Equipment (a satellite dish) used to obtained a specific communications satellite signal.

Satellite Station A television station which transmits programs and commercials received from another station to extend the coverage area of the "parent." It is assigned separate call letters and channel number.

Saturation Advertising that is heavily concentrated in a short period of time in order to attain maximum reach.

Scatter Market Unsold national ad time on the broadcast networks that remains after the preseason "up-front" buying period.

Scrambler An electronic device that alters a broadcast signal transmission by encryption so it can’t be received without a decoder.

Scrambling Altering a broadcast signal transmission by encryption so it can't be received without a decoder.

Search Engine A software tool that searches for information and Web sites on the Internet.

Season Average Household and persons audience estimates for each program reported as an average of all telecasts.

Sell-Through In the homevideo business, movies that are sold to consumers rather than rented to them.

Server A computer or software package that provides information to client software running on other computers.

Services of Nielsen Media Research:

    Monitor-Plus A service of Nielsen Media Research that links television ratings to commercial occurrence data. It tracks "share of spending" and "share of voice" (the proportion of all television advertising within a product category attributable to a brand or advertiser, as expressed in rating points) by company, brand and by product category. The service tracks this activity across 15 monitored media, including print, outdoor, radio, free-standing inserts and television. The electronic delivery platform through which customers access these data is called Ad*Views.

    New Media Services A business unit of Nielsen Media Research that provides custom research for start-up services and non-traditional enterprises. Examples include place-based media (airports, supermarkets, etc.), as well as out-of-home measurement services. The business unit also offers Sigma, a verification service that electronically monitors and reports air plays of public service announcements, video news releases and program promotions.

    New Millennium An advertising agency buying system service from Nielsen Media Research. It provides agencies with the ability to perform pre-buy analyses, track negotiations and scheduling of ad time, evaluate overall performance in terms of delivery and cost, and perform reconciliation and subsequent accounting functions.

    Nielsen Advertiser Services (NAS) A media research service for national advertisers from Nielsen Media Research. The service customizes national and local ratings data to conform with national advertisers’ regional brand campaigns

     Nielsen Agency, Broadcaster and Syndication Service (NABSS)The combined marketing and operational functions of Nielsen Television Index (NTI) and Nielsen Syndication Service (NSS) serving the national broadcast networks, syndicators and national advertising agencies.

       Nielsen Hispanic Station Index (NHSI) Provides local viewing information for Spanish-language television stations in 16 markets with significant Hispanic populations.

    Nielsen Hispanic Television Index (NHTI)Reports viewing to Spanish language television networks by measuring the viewing habits of Hispanics living in the United States. Data are collected from a national People Meter sample.

    Nielsen Homevideo Index (NHI) Established in 1980, NHI provides television audience measurement of cable, pay cable, VCR and other homevideo television sources.

    Nielsen Interactive Services Provides a range of research services that track the growth of the Internet , and to provide information to advertisers, content providers and on-line service companies. (See also, Nielsen//NetRatings.)

    Nielsen Media Research Canada The Canadian service of Nielsen Media Research. It provides television-viewing information through one national and two local People Meter samples (Toronto/Hamilton and Vancouver/Victoria). In addition, information from the regions of Ontario and Quebec also are reported.

    Nielsen//NetRatingsLaunched in 1999 as a joint venture between Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings, Inc., to provide Internet audience measurement and analysis services in the U.S. and worldwide. The service reports on Internet use and advertising, including the number, frequency and duration of visits to specific sites, detailed data on exposure to ad banners, streaming media usage and demographic profiles. Data are collected through research panels. Shortly after the Nielsen//NetRatings venture was announced, VNU, the Dutch information services and publishing company, acquired Nielsen Media Research, including a controlling interest in NetRatings. Nielsen//NetRatings also has a strategic partnership with ACNielsen Company for Internet measurement services outside the U.S. and Canada.

    Nielsen SIGMA An electronic tracking service that detects air plays of videos distributed to television stations, broadcast networks and cable networks. SIGMA uses proprietary video encoding and monitoring equipment to detect usage. The code includes a service provider ID, date, and time of origination.

    Nielsen Sports Marketing Service (NSMS) Focuses on the special information needs of sports teams, leagues and sports marketers as well as stations, networks, unwired networks, and production companies.

    Nielsen Station Index (NSI) Established in 1954, NSI provides local market television audience measurement for more than 1,000 local television stations in 210 local television markets. In nearly 48 markets, NSI provides metered services which include audience estimates every day.

    Nielsen Syndication Service (NSS) Formed in 1981, NSS serves the syndicated programming market by providing audience measurement of nationally syndicated programming on both a national and local basis.

    Nielsen Television Index (NTI) Established in 1950, NTI provides audience estimates for all national broadcast network television programs. In 1987, this service began collecting data on nationwide television viewing on a daily basis using the People Meter.

Sets In Use Total number of television sets that are turned on at a particular time. This differs from HUT (Homes Using Television), because most households have more than one TV set.

Share (of Audience) – The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

SigmaSee Services, Nielsen Media Research

Signal Carriage Stations carried by a cable system, including local stations which request carriage by system, plus stations which are significantly viewed off-air within the community, plus distant signals imported by the system.

Sign-on/Sign-off See, Daypart

Simulcast Joint broadcast by a TV and radio station whereby the TV station carries the video and the radio station carries the stereo sound. A frequency occurrence in public broadcasting.

Siphoning Drawing an audience away from one medium to another.

SMPTE See, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.

SMTP Sample Mail Transfer Protocol. The main protocol used to send electronic mail on the Internet.

Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) Professional organization of technical specialists that works at establishing technical standards for lighting, equipment and film.

Sound Bite A brief statement or excerpt from an interview for use in radio or television news program.

Spam In Internet parlance, an inappropriate attempt to use a mailing list or other network communications as if it were a broadcast medium by sending the same message to a large number of people who didn't ask for it.

Spill-In The percent or numbers of households viewing stations originating from an outside market.

Spill-Out Television station advertising or programming that go outside the station’s area of origin.

Spot Television All commercial advertising time either available for sale or purchase from local TV stations. There are two major types of spot advertising:

  • (1)- Local Spot Advertising bought on one station in one market. These sales are usually handled by the TV station.

    (2)- National Spot Advertising bought by national advertisers in several markets of their own selection. These sales are handled by the local TV station representatives.

  • Standard Error A measure of the margin of error in a survey result attributable to sampling.

    Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area Geography defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget which includes a city of 50,000 or more inhabitants and the county(s) in which it is located.

    Station A broadcast entity licensed to a market by the FCC.

    Station Break The time between programs when a local station identifies itself and airs commercials and/or promotional announcements.

    Station Compensation Money paid by a network to an affiliated station for carrying the network’s programming.

    Station Count The number of stations transmitting a program.

    Station Identification Brief advisories giving the call sign of a broadcast station and its city of license. The FCC requires such IDs on the hour

    Station Lineup - Network affiliated stations actually carrying a given network program.

    Station Representative See, Rep Firm.

    Station Totals The overall audience estimate based on ratings data obtained from counties both within and outside a station’s market area.

    Sticky - many Web sites try to be "sticky," which means they aim to offer surfers everything they want without having to leave and go to another site.

    Storage Instantaneous Audimeter - See, Audimeter.

    Streaming Playing audio and/or video content immediately as it is downloaded from the Internet, rather than first storing it in a file on the receiving computer. A high-speed Internet connection is necessary.

    Stripping Scheduling a syndicated program at the same time, every day of the week.  This is the opposite of checkerboarding, which is the standard method of scheduling programs on primetime.  See, Checkerboarding

    Superstation A local TV station whose signal is delivered via satellite to cable systems across the country.

    SurfingUsing a TV remote to click on one channel after another. Often called grazing. In Internet parlance, such activity is called "browsing," as the computer’s browser is used to surf the Internet, moving from one web site to another.

    Survey Area The geographic area from which a sample is developed for a study.

    Sustaining Program A program aired by a commercial network or station without advertising support.

    Sweeps Ratings surveys in which local markets are simultaneously measured by a rating service. Nielsen Media Research surveys all 210 local television markets in November, February, May and July (Honolulu, Fairbanks and Juneau are excluded in July). These months are known as sweep months, and the data are used by local stations and cable systems to set local ad rates and to make program decisions.  The term "sweep" dates back to the beginning of local television measurements in the 1950s and refers to how Nielsen Media Research mailed diaries to sample households starting with the East Coast and sweeping across the nation.

    Syndicated Exclusivity Rules - Also called "syndex," FCC rules that allow a local TV broadcast station (as well as a program's syndicator) with exclusive distribution rights for syndicated programming on local cable systems to require a cable system to black out the syndicated programming as carried by any other television signal shown on such cable system.

    Syndication The business of marketing television programs directly to local stations, including cable systems and cable networks. (For a more complete summary of the U.S. syndication business, see Les Brown’s Encyclopedia of Television, 3rd Edition.)

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