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New technology to shed light on individual TV habits

LONDON - The television viewing habits of UK individuals, rather than entire households, will be able to be recorded thanks to new set-top box technology.

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NDS, which makes pay-TV technology, along with market research company TNS Media Research, have launched the new service.

It allows viewers to identify themselves by entering their first name via a remote control. The names of any guests watching television with them can also be entered.

Only the viewing habits of individuals who have agreed to participate on a measurement panel will be recorded.

The companies have dubbed the service RPDi, which stands for Return Path Data individual.

It is based on the existing NDS Dynamic measurement system and TNS's RaPiD View analysis service.

The new technology is aimed at digital TV operators who wish to enhance their data collection services by capturing details of persons viewing as opposed to simply household level data.

Gideon Gilboa, senior product marketing manager for advertising solutions at NDS, said: "Operators are turning to set-top box measurement because it allows them to truly understand the behaviours of their subscribers, providing rich data not available from traditional measurement methods."

"This includes niche channel viewing, time-shifted TV and interactive usage. To date this has mostly been reported on a household level but with RPDi customers can have the best of both worlds -- rich STB data and strong individual level reporting to improve their business decisions and advertising sales."

TNS was awarded a six-year contract by BARB, the UK ratings body, to recruit a new Barb viewing panel and to install meters, retrieve data from them and process it in to audience reports. The contract starts in January next year.

However, TNS said the RPDi technology was unrelated to the Barb contract and would not be rolled out as part of its new deal.

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