Our guest speaker was John Stavropoulos, Vice President Engineering & Supply Chain Management, Nielsen. John was introduced by Ellen Promisloff, Nielsen's Account Director, Client Service. Nielsen presented their new 1212 Analog-Digital Encoder and the soon-to-be released 1220 Multi-channel Monitor. John's presentation focused on the technology utilized within these new products, as well as developments in the newest generaton "People Meter" devices.
Nielsen Encoders and Monitors are a vital element in the station signal chain. Therefore, this meeting, and the opportunity to see and touch the new devices, was interesting to local and network television, radio and cable-TV engineers. We also had the opportunity to learn more about Nielsen's other products and services.
When learning the fundamentals of commercial broadcast engineering, many of us were taught the undeniable relationship between The Three R's: Reliability, Ratings, and Revenue. Although Ratings and Revenue are largely envisioned as responsibilities of the Programming and Sales departments, both are dependent on the abilities of the Engineering department to Reliably deliver high-quality audio and/or video. Without that, Ratings and Revenue will surely suffer.
At one time, the station transmitter was thought to be the primary limiting factor for station Reliability. However, with the advent of the Portable People Meter (PPM), which detects inaudible digital watermark signals encoded within a station's audio stream for ratings research, proper operation of the Nielsen Encoder is arguably as important as the transmitter. After all, if the station is on-the-air but not getting ratings credit, how much does it matter? By extension, confidence monitoring of the broadcast PPM watermark signal is important for determining that the Encoder, broadcast signal chain, and transmitter equipment is functioning properly.
Sandwiches, kindly provided by Cavell, Mertz & Associates, Inc. and soft drinks kindly provided by Nielsen, were served at 6:30 PM. We discussed a tiny bit of Chapter 37/46 business about 6:45 and began our presentation about 7:00 PM.
Thanks to our friends at SBE Chapter 46, Baltimore for their efforts planning this meeting. It was good to meet and reacquaint with our peers from the Charm City.