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Watching you watching TV

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We know you didn’t watch the Oscars last weekend. Neither did we. And according to the latest figures from the Nielsen Company, neither did many viewers. Nielsen has been tracking the habits of TV viewers for decades now, and their research figures prominently in the business decisions made by television and advertising industry heads.

Nielsen is now looking to expand its influence, hoping to eavesdrop on other activities – like web surfing, cell phone usage, and purchasing habits. They concede it’s a tough sell though – while many Nielsen families view their influence as tastemakers as a “point of pride”, they bristle at the idea of having many of their day-to-day activities tracked.

Still, Nielsen plans to go ahead with a number of pilot projects aimed at providing their clients with ever-more detailed information about their customers – from how often people look at TV screens in malls and stores to how much perspiration people produce when watching TV at home.

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