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Nielsen Media Homes

What’s next starts with you

At Nielsen, we measure what content people watch and listen to. We have done this for more than 50 years. Most of our knowledge and data comes directly from people like you. We rely on real people to understand how audiences watch TV, stream and listen to music and podcasts.

To measure all of this, we ask people to be part of our panels. A panel is a small group that has the same traits (like race, gender, etc.) as a larger group of people. Some of our panels are made up of Nielsen Families, also known as Nielsen Homes or Nielsen Households. Nielsen Families are people who allow us to measure what they watch on TV and listen to on the radio. We take what we learn from them and produce the ratings.

How it works

Our Nielsen representatives will give you everything you need to participate and help you get started. By viewing TV and streaming as you normally do—whether it’s a little or a lot—you’re letting us know what you like to watch. Your viewing information is carefully collected and sent to Nielsen, where it is combined with other participating households in your area and analyzed to get the Nielsen ratings. We share this information with the TV industry and media companies so they can program shows that people like you want to watch. And you’re even given thank-you gifts for participating.

What Nielsen participants are saying

Becoming a Nielsen Family is a chance to have your voice heard and represent your community. By contributing to the ratings, you’re letting the media and advertising industries know what you, and people like you, prefer to watch and listen to. And you belong to an important group—there are tens of thousands of Nielsen Families across the U.S.

Listen to what former Nielsen families have to say.

Frequently asked questions

About Nielsen Ratings

What are the Nielsen Ratings?

Information about who watches and listens to content, like music and TV shows, is used to get the Nielsen ratings. Ratings help people who work in TV, radio, and advertising understand how their content is performing—this can be anything from a network comedy to a podcast to a news segment during a given time. A rating is the percentage of a specific population that watched or listened to a piece of content or ad.

Are ratings the same as reviews?

No, they aren’t—ratings and reviews are very different. Nielsen ratings only show viewing and listening behaviors that we measure, but reviews are opinions and can come from anyone. Our ratings are also not the same as parental movie “ratings,” which review a film’s content to understand if it’s appropriate for viewers of different ages.

How to join

I received mail from Nielsen. Is it legitimate?

Yes, the envelope may have contained either a short survey about television viewing that we would like you to complete and return in the postage-paid envelope or the envelope may have contained a letter inviting you to participate in the Nielsen ratings.

What if a Nielsen representative visits my home?

Our highly trained Nielsen representatives want the chance to tell you about the exciting opportunity to participate in the Nielsen ratings. All of our representatives carry a Nielsen photo ID badge to identify them. If you are unsure about the person at your door, call us at 1-800-237-6493.

I lost the Nielsen contact information. What should I do?

Call us at 1-800-237-6493 and we will help you connect with a representative.

Selection process

Who do you select?

Nielsen panels need to include many different populations and communities. It doesn’t matter if there’s one person in your household or 10, if you live in a city or a rural location—anyone could be selected.  People who work for Nielsen, their immediate family members, domestic partners, or members of their household, as well as people who work in the media (or anything related to it), cannot be members of the panels.

Do I have to pay to participate?

Being a Nielsen Family costs you nothing.

What does a Nielsen Family get for participating?

You’ll receive gifts for your continued participation.

Can I volunteer to be a Nielsen Family?

No. Homes for TV and audio ratings are scientifically selected, so you can’t volunteer to become a Nielsen Family.

Can I talk about being a Nielsen Family?

No. Once you begin participating, you can’t share that you’re part of the Nielsen ratings. We ask that you do not discuss your role in Nielsen research with people outside of your household, including on social media websites, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This helps keep our ratings as independent as possible.

Respecting your privacy

How did Nielsen get my contact information?

We use a combination of publicly available telephone, address and Census information to select homes in order to invite households to join the TV ratings.

How is my information kept private?

We are committed to protecting the personal identifying information you provide us. We will use the information about you and your household for research purposes. Read more about our privacy principles.

Will Nielsen try to sell me anything, or sell my name and address to marketers?

Absolutely not. The information from your home is held strictly confidential—we will not use it to advertise, promote or sell goods and services directly to you, and we do not allow our clients to sell directly to you.

If Nielsen does business in more than 50 countries, then what impact do I have on local communities?

We’re committed to giving back in all the communities and markets where we live and operate our business. We were named one of “America’s Most JUST Companies” by JUST Capital, and more than 3,000 Nielsen employees across 40 countries participated in Nielsen Global Impact Day in 2021. Learn more about our commitment to global responsibility and sustainability.

Privacy principles

Your contribution is important to us, and we protect your privacy. Nielsen will never use your personally identifiable information (such as your name, address, or email address) to advertise, promote or market third-party goods or services directly to you, and we use various methods to make sure that an individual cannot be identified in the reports that we create for our clients. More about privacy

Panel representation

At Nielsen, diversity and inclusion are a part of our DNA. This is reflected in everything we do—from creating an inclusive workplace to selecting panels that truly embrace the most backgrounds and experiences.