Nielsen to begin measuring mobile viewing

The media bombard us with images of and ideas about body size and weight, about who looks fabulous and who's pathetic. Parents should help their children appreciate the sometimes-subtle messages sent by TV, magazines, music, and the Internet - and how these messages can distort attitudes about our bodies and those of others.

Starting next fall, Nielsen will begin counting television programs watched on mobile phones and tablets within its traditional TV ratings.

The company responsible for measuring TV viewership said Monday it will use codes embedded by networks within the programs to collect this information.

Nielsen said in February that it would begin counting people who watch programming through broadband, which adds 160 homes to a sample of 23,000 homes nationwide.

Nielsen's measurements are the lifeblood of television's economic system, and this development is an important step in adjusting to changes in how content is consumed. It is not expected to have an immediate, dramatic impact in the ratings since Nielsen estimated that only 6 percent of current viewing is not measured now. But the impact could be bigger on programs that appeal to young people who are more apt to watch on mobile devices. Nielsen's ratings are used to set advertising rates.