The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple,” Oscar Wilde famously pointed out.

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple,” Oscar Wilde famously pointed out. In the audience measurement business a less famous British commentator, Rodney Harris, noted in the 1980s that “Media research is not designed to find out the truth. It is a treaty between interested parties.”

Certainly, if by truth we mean perfection, then audience measurement falls down. There are no perfect audience numbers; all are estimates. Short of interviewing everybody in the population and achieving error-free recall or tracking of behaviour, all measurement systems are imperfect.So we employ statistical techniques to help us. Four stand out: sample weighting, ascription, data fusion and modelling.

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