How Nielsen Could Tap Mobile Microphones to Track Panel Members

Nielsen would use microphones in mobile devices to detect voices of panel members, and determine whether a viewer is within range of a program on TV, according to a patent application published Thursday.

While no company is listed as assignee, two of the inventors are Nielsen employees: Principal Researcher Engineer Padmanabhan Soundararajan and Principal Researcher Alexander Topchy.

Abstract: Methods, apparatus, systems and articles of manufacture to count people in an audience are disclosed. An example method includes analyzing location information collected by a portable device indicative of a location of the portable device. The method also includes analyzing proximity information collected by the portable device indicative of when a person is near the portable device. The example method further includes generating presence information based on (1) the location information and (2) the proximity information, the presence information being indicative of whether the person is present in a media exposure environment associated with a media presentation device.

Patent

Claims:

1. A method comprising: analyzing location information collected by a portable device indicative of a location of the portable device; analyzing proximity information collected by the portable device indicative of a person being near the portable device; and generating first presence information based on (1) the location information and (2) the proximity information, the presence information indicative of whether the person is present in a media exposure environment associated with a media presentation device.

2. A method as defined in claim 1, further comprising comparing the first presence information to second presence information collected via a people meter associated with the media presentation device.

3. A method as defined in claim 2, wherein the second presence information is generated based on manual inputs to the people meter.

4. A method as defined in claim 2, further comprising adjusting the second presence information based on the comparison.

5. A method as defined in claim 2, further comprising adjusting the second presence information by increasing a people count when the person does not correspond to any person logged in to the people meter and the first presence information indicates the person is present in the media exposure environment.

6. A method as defined in claim 2, further comprising adjusting the second presence information by decreasing a people count when the person corresponds to a person logged in to the base meter and the first presence information indicates the person is absent from the media exposure environment.

7. A method as defined in claim 1, further comprising: if the location of the portable device is within the media exposure environment, determining that the person is present in the media exposure environment when the person is near the portable device; and if the location of the portable device is outside the media exposure environment, determining that the person is absent from the media exposure environment when the person is near the portable device.

8. A method as defined in claim 1, wherein the proximity information is based on usage information indicative of usage of an application executing on the portable device.

9. A method as defined in claim 8, further comprising estimating at least one of an identity of the person or a demographic characteristic of the person based on a type of the application executing on the portable device.

10. A method as defined in claim 8, further comprising identifying the person based on a user account associated with the application, the usage of the application involving the person logging in to the user account.

11. A method as defined in claim 1, further comprising transmitting a control signal to the portable device requesting the location information and the proximity information from the portable device.

12. An apparatus comprising: a location determiner to determine a location of a portable device based on location information generated by the portable device; a proximity determiner to determine that a person is in proximity to the portable device based on data collected by the portable device; and a presence detector to generate first presence information based on (1) the location of the portable device and (2) the proximity of the person to the portable device, the first presence information indicative of whether the person is present in a media exposure environment associated with a media presentation device.

13. An apparatus as defined claim 12, wherein the presence detector is to: compare the first presence information to second presence data collected via a people meter located in the media exposure environment; and adjust the second presence data based on the comparison.

14. (canceled)

15. (canceled)

16. An apparatus as defined in claim 12, wherein the presence detector is to: if the location of the portable device is within the media exposure environment, determine that the person is present in the media exposure environment when the person is in proximity to the portable device; and if the location of the portable device is outside the media exposure environment, determine that the person is absent from the media exposure environment when the person is in proximity to the portable device.

17. An apparatus as defined in claim 12, wherein the proximity information is based on usage information indicative of usage of an application executing on the portable device.

18. An apparatus as defined in claim 17, further comprising an identity estimator to estimate an identity of the person based on a type of the application executing on the portable device.

19. An apparatus as defined in claim 17, further comprising a characteristic estimator to estimate a demographic characteristic of the person based on a type of the application executing on the portable device.

20. An apparatus as defined in claim 17, further comprising an identity estimator to identify the person based on a user account associated with the application, the usage of the application involving the person logging in to the user account.

21. An apparatus as defined in claim 12, wherein the portable device and the media presentation device are associated with a panelist of a media measurement panel.

22. An apparatus as defined in claim 21, wherein the person is not the panelist.

23. An apparatus as defined in claim 12, further comprising a data coordinator to trigger the collection of data by the portable device.

24. A tangible machine readable storage medium having instructions stored thereon that, when executed, cause a machine to at least: detect a location of a portable device based on location information generated by the portable device; detect when a person is in proximity to the portable device based on proximity information generated by the portable device; and generate first presence information based on (1) the location of the portable device and (2) the proximity of the person to the portable device, the first presence information indicative of whether the person is present in a media exposure environment including a media presentation device.

25. A storage medium as defined in claim 24, wherein the instructions cause the machine to compare the first presence information to second presence information collected via a people meter associated with the media presentation device, the second presence information being based on manual inputs to the people meter.

26. A storage medium as defined in claim 25, wherein the instructions cause the machine to adjust the second presence information based on the comparison.

27. A storage medium as defined in claim 26, wherein the instructions cause the machine to adjust the second presence information by adding the person to a record of people detected in the media exposure environment when the person does not correspond to any person logged in via the people meter and the first presence information indicates the person is present in the media exposure environment.

28. A storage medium as defined in claim 26, wherein the instructions cause the machine to adjust the second presence information by removing the person from a record of people detected in the media exposure environment when the person corresponds to a person logged in via the people meter and the first presence information indicates the person is absent from the media exposure environment.

29. (canceled)

30. A storage medium as defined in claim 24, wherein the proximity information is based on usage information indicative of usage of an application executing on the portable device.

31. (canceled)

32. (canceled)

33. A storage medium as defined in claim 30, wherein the instructions cause the machine to identify the person based on a user account associated with the application, the usage of the application involving the person logging in to the user account.

34. A storage medium as defined in claim 24, wherein the instructions cause the machine to trigger collection of the location information and the proximity information by the portable device.

35.-49. (canceled)


Alexander Topchy

Principal Researcher at Nielsen