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Applications | Technical data | Options | Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
about the Audience Tracker Mobile

Which customers did you have in mind when designing the measuring box? Any customer who needs an uncomplicated and reliable technical solution for measuring TV usage; i.e. broadcasters, market research institutes, media agencies and advertisers.

Does FAST also operate its own panel?
No, FAST only provides the necessary tracking technology. The selection and servicing of a panel is customarily done in association with a market research institute. FAST will be happy to recommend an experienced institute.

Is there an upper or lower limit on the size of a panel?
No, the scope can range from one single measuring box up to several thousand.
What is the minimum panel duration?
For many studies, a measuring period of just a few weeks will be sufficient. The shortest system rental period offered is four weeks.

What panel participant data does FAST need for tracking purposes?
None at all. Operation is based on anonymized household and person IDs. Only the client thus has access to personal data.

TV usage: How many panel subjects can be tracked per box?
The measuring box is designed to track up to six household members as well as up to nine guests.

Can I also use the box in foreign countries?
Yes, thanks to the wireless technology used in the measuring box, the system can be used around the globe, fully independent of country-specific TV standards. There are no reference broadcaster restrictions. The GSM data transmission can either be local or by internationally roaming to Germany.       
Are the system’s measured results representative of all of Germany?
Yes. Depending on the size and composition of the panel, the system can return Germany-wide representative results.

Does the box affect or interfere with normal TV usage?
No. Because it’s wireless, the measuring box in no way disrupts a panel participant‘s personal TV equipment, settings or viewing habits.

What data does the measuring box gather from the panel household?
The digital audio sensor in the measuring box detects the room’s ambient noise and converts it into ultra-compact audio properties. It also records the specific panel members and guests currently logged-in as well as channel changes made with infrared remote controls. Its integrated clock ensures precise time tracking on all recorded data.

Which TV platforms can the system measure?
All of them. From terrestrial to cable to satellite and even linear DVB-T.

Which broadcasters can be tracked?
There are 24 standard reference broadcasters in Germany available 24/7: Das Erste, ZDF, RTL, Sat.1, ProSieben, RTL II, Super RTL, kabel eins, 3sat, arte, VOX, n-tv, 9Live, KI.KA, Phoenix, N24, Eurosport, DSF, Tele 5, Das Vierte, DMAX, MTV, VIVA, Nick/Comedy Central

Can I input additional broadcasters?
Any other broadcaster – including digital special-interest channels – can be tracked as needed. This also includes the local programming from RTL and Sat.1 as well as ARD network programs.

Is the system also able to track radio use?
Yes! All that’s required is including the desired radio broadcaster in the list of reference channels. Because power is provided by a battery pack and the dimensions of the measuring box are so small, it can even be used in cars.

Can TV usage in a panel household be tracked to the exact second?
Yes, boxes track at 8 kHz (sample rate of 8,000 per second). Measurement results can be displayed in minute intervals (and multiples) for any desired time period.
Can’t the system eavesdrop on the panel participants in the room?
The actual channel being watched during synchronous broadcasts (for example, the “Tagesschau” show on the Ersten and ARD-Dritten channels) is identified by means of the logged channel changes as well as the station viewed immediately prior to and after the synchronous broadcast.

How does the system handle a room’s ambient noise?
Perhaps more than anything else, the uniquely innovative FAST AudioMatch algorithm is distinguished by its extremely low sensitivity to ambient noise interference. Conversations at normal volume or even street noises have no impact whatsoever on measurement operations. In fact, when the measuring box’s digital audio sensor is positioned directly by the TV speaker, even louder background noises will not be an issue. When there are extremely loud background noises, the channel being watched is identified by means of the logged channel changes as well as the station viewed immediately prior to and after the disturbance.
Can I also use a different remote control?
Yes, any infrared remote control with the applicable input buttons for logging on and off can be adapted for use with the measuring box.

Can I also use the system without any user logon?
Yes. In this case, television usage will be recorded for the entire household as a whole; no distinction will be made among the various different household members or guests.

How quickly is the measured panel data available?
Raw data from the previous day is already available for viewing by early the next morning.

How do I get the results?
All data can be easily and conveniently called up online or sent by email.
What exactly do the results look like?
The measured results are presented in an Excel table and/or in graphical form as well as the usual formats enabling further processing (csv, txt).

What happens in the case of a defective box?
When a box returns a malfunction or error message, servicing can normally be performed remotely without the panel participant needing to do a thing.

Is the technology proven; i.e. already in use?
Broadcaster recognition via AudioMatch has been reliably running since 2008 on the internet portal This online service uses the AudioMatch software to automatically recognize which channel the user has on, and offers entertainment relevant to the show such as quizzes, chat rooms and interesting side information.

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