3 Things You Didn’t Know about Nielsen Ratings

You’ve heard about Nielsen Ratings, but how much do you really know about them and the company that records them, Nielsen Media Research? If you want to learn more, here are a few facts about Nielsen ratings, their long history, and the company responsible for them:

Nielsen Didn’t Start with TV Ratings

Nielsen Media Research wasn’t always Nielsen Media Research. When engineer Arthur C. Nielsen founded his company in 1923, it specialized in measuring the effectiveness of conveyor belts and turbine generators. The company switched to measuring consumer sales during The Depression, launching an index to measure retail store and drug sales in 1933.

Before TV, Nielsen Was Measuring Radio Ratings

In 1936, Nielsen acquired the rights to the Audimeter, a device which was able to record when a radio was turned on, and what it was tuned to. Using the data collected by the Audimeter, Nielsen launched its Radio Index in the U.S. in 1942. The Audimeter would also be the basis for the devices Nielsen would use to record TV ratings starting in the 1950s.

The Super Bowl Is the Reigning Nielsen Champion

The top three highest-rated TV broadcasts in the history of the Nielsen ratings are all Super Bowls – Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014, and Super Bowl 50 (L) in 2016. Super Bowl XLIX drew an average of 114.4 million viewers, alone.

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