Sweeps Dates

Four times every year are ratings periods commonly known as “sweeps.” These periods are typically held in February, May, July and November, though the actual dates often extend into neighboring months.

Although larger markets are now metered electronically year round, smaller and midsize markets still use paper diaries that are mailed to millions of homes across the country during these select periods.

Households are asked to track the programs watched by each household member for seven days (or eight days if the home has a DVR). The diaries are then returned to the Nielsen Company, which then tabulates and provides the data to television stations, advertisers and other interested parties.

Learn more about sweeps at Wikipedia.

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