As more national programming monopolies break down and multinational programmers enter new markets, the need for research data has increased. As one executive described media buying in a monopoly: "You either bought their package, or you didn't play."
The opening of the TV market has not necessarily led to standardized, concrete answers. Researchers differ in how they set platform parameters to how they define a household's size.
These concerns will only grow with the introduction of direct-to-home satellite technology. The three major ratings companies in Argentina, for example, IPSA Nielsen, Brazil-based IBOPE and Mercados y Tendencias, all have conflicting results. That's a major factor in a market with cable penetration topping 50%.
In Chile, agencies use local consumer research rather than those projects released stateside.
Contributing to this story: Michael J. Galetto, Buenos Aires; Tara Sullivan, Santiago.