General Glossary

Broadcast Television Industry General Terms and Definitions

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Absolute URL
The full internet address of a page or other World Wide Web resource. The absolute URL includes a protocol, such as “http,” network location, and optional path and file name. For example, is an absolute URL. See also URL.

Active Hyperlink
A hyperlink that is currently selected in a web browser. Some web browsers indicate the active hyperlink by changing its color.

Ad Blocking
Ad blocking is the action or practice of using a special piece of software to prevent advertisements from appearing on a webpage.

Ad Bots
A form of spyware that collects information about the computer user’s online behavior in order to display targeted advertisements in the web browser.

Ad Hoc Network
A group of stations that collaborates for a special purpose, such as the showing of a onetime TV program or series. Ad hoc is Latin for “for this.”

A commercial that immediately follows or precedes another on the same TV station.

Ad Sequencing
An ad serving method where a set of ads are shown in an established order. For example, ad B is shown after the user has been exposed to ad A.

Ad Server
A system used to determine which ads to serve based on the priority of an ad. It is also responsible for pacing the campaign, tracking and reporting on impression delivery and click-thru rates.

Ad-Supported VOD (AVOD)
A service in which the content is free to the consumer and funded by advertising.

ADU (audience deficiency unit)
A unit of commercial inventory that is given to an ad agency in order to make up for a shortfall in viewership for a guaranteed deal.

Advanced Television (ATV)
The FCC’s name for Digital Television (DTV).

Advertising Weight
A measure of advertising delivery, normally stated in terms of number of commercials, homes reached, target audience impressions, and gross rating points.

A notarized statement from a television station that confirms the commercial actually ran at the time shown on the station’s invoice.

A TV station, not owned by a network, that grants a network use of specific time periods for network programs and advertising, for compensation. Remainder of broadcast day is programmed locally.

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML)
A Rich Internet Application (RIA) used for creating interactive and more responsive web applications. Rich Websites and internet applications such as YouTube are generally heavy in media content, meaning larger downloads and slower performance for the end user. In order to make web pages more responsive and user-friendly, AJAX exchanges small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes, so that the entire web page does not have to be reloaded every time the user requests a change. Each time a content element changes, only that particular piece of content is then updated. Such a technology impacts Page Views as a measurement system in that users can be engaged with various amounts of content on a particular site, but that user interaction only shows up as one page view.

Alternate Delivery Systems (ADS)
TV homes with unwired cable access are referred to as having Alternate Delivery Systems. The four components of ADS are:

  • Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS): Satellite service delivered directly via household’s own small (usually 18″) dish; the largest component of ADS.
  • Satellite Master Antenna (SMATV): Serves housing complexes and hotels; signals received via satellite and distributed by coaxial cable.
  • Microwave Multi Distribution System (MMDS), “WIRELESS CABLE”: Distributes signals by microwave. Home receiver picks up signal, then distributes via internal wiring.
  • Satellite Dish (CBand/KU Band), “Big Dish”: Household receives transmissions from a satellite(s), via a 1 to 3 meter dish.

American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT)
A non-profit, professional organization of women and men whose mission is to advance the impact of women in the electronic media and allied fields by educating, advocating, and acting as a resource to AWRT members and the industry.

Technology originally designed for transmitting voice (telephones) where signals are sent as electromagnetic waves. For video service, the signal is sent from the television broadcaster to the local cable operator to the subscriber’s home.

Average Revenue per Unit/User. Term used by telephone carriers for measure of average monthly revenue generated by each customer unit.


An ad server used by advertisers and agencies to create and track ads.

ATSC 3.0
A major version of the ATSC standards created by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). ATSC 3.0 will support mobile television, 3D television, 4K UHD, high dynamic range (HDR), high frame rate (HFR), and wide color gamut (WCG). ATSC 3.0 comprises around 20 standards covering different aspects of the system and in total will have over 1,000 pages of documentation.

The practice of evaluating the effectiveness of advertising/marketing methods to contribute to sales/conversions.

Audience Composition
The distribution of a station’s audience by demographic group.

Audience Duplication
The extent to which the audience of one station is exposed to that of another.

Audience Flow
A measure of the change in audience during and between programs. Audience flow shows the percentages of people or households who turn on or off a program, switch to or from another channel, or remain on the same channel as the previous program.

Automated Content Recognition (ACR)
An ad technology that gathers data from a user of an internet-enabled TV, or Smart TV for TV viewership information.  The data is gathered passively without any input from the TV viewer and offers greater data depth and accuracy.

Automated Measurement of Lineups (AMOL)
The technology which allows Nielsen Media Research (NMR) to track an identification code within locally transmitted TV signals for network and nationally syndicated programs. NMR is also linked by computers to networks and syndicators in order to receive their latest schedule changes. Using this technology, NMR can pin down exactly what program was shown on what channel at a particular time.

Average Audience (AA)
A widely used rating term, expressed as a percentage, to reflect viewing to the average minute of a program or time period. It is an average of the audience at minute 1, 2, 3, etc. As such, it serves as an estimate of the average commercial audience (households or persons).

Average Quarter Hour Audience
Estimated number of people who watch a program or station for a minimum of five minutes within a specific quarter hour.

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Back Channel
A means of communication from users to content providers. As content providers are transmitting interactive television (analog or digital) to users, users can connect through a back channel to a website. It can be used to provide feedback, purchase goods and services, etc.

The capacity of a communication line to carry information (measure in bits/sec).

An image, usually displayed at the top of each page in a website, containing text and design elements. In the ad industry, this is generally associated with the 468×60 size ad.

The exchange of quantities of commercial time for merchandise or services.

Barter Syndication
A program distribution method in which the syndicator retains and sells a portion of the show’s advertising time. In “cash plus barter,” the syndicator also receives some money from the station on which the program airs.

Basic Cable
Channels received by cable subscribers at no extra charge, usually supported by advertising and small per subscriber fees paid by cable operators.

Behavioral Ad
An advertisement that may appeal to a viewer based on that person’s past experience with the product.

A brief announcement, usually 3, 5 or 10 seconds in length, and usually earned by advertisers paying extra for the program being ordered. Billboards are afforded, in most instances, at the top and bottom (beginning and end) of the show. The product and/or sponsor’s name is mentioned in a statement such as “…the following portion of (program) is being brought to you by (sponsor)… “Also, called OPEN when used at the top of a show, and CLOSE when used at the bottom of a show.

Blog is short for weblog. A weblog is a journal (or newsletter) that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or the website.

Bluetooth is a computing and telecommunications industry specification that describes how mobile phones, computers and PDAs can easily interconnect with each other and with home and business phones and computers using a short wireless connection.

A named location on a page that can be the target of a hyperlink. A bookmark can be applied to a set of characters or it can exist on a page separately from any text. Bookmarks allow authors to link to a specific section of a target page. In a URL, a bookmark is preceded by a pound-sign character (#). Also called an anchor.

Bounce Rate
The percentage of single-page visits calculated as single-page view visits divided by entry pages. The lower the bounce rate, the fewer the people leaving the site directly after landing on it.

Brand Development Index (BDI)
A measure of the relationship of a specific brand’s sales to population in a specific geographic area. The BDI is calculated by dividing an area’s percent of total U.S. sales by that area’s percent of population.

On web pages, the link to all levels of the hierarchy above the current location, showing the route a searcher has taken and the context of the current page.

Describes any transmission medium that supports a wide frequency range, including audio and video frequencies. It can be multiplexed to carry several independent channels, each in its own bandwidth. Broadband transmission is often in the range of 1 MHz or more. At the minimum, the term refers to bandwidth greater than that required for voice, which telecommunications standards have set at 4 kHz.

Broadband Only Household (BBO)
Household with at least one operable TV/Monitor and the ability to receive video with a broadband connection. Broadband-only homes are defined as wireline broadband-connected U.S. occupied households without a traditional multichannel video package. Broadband-only households more often than not consume video content via subscriptions to OTT and virtual multi-channel services and/or over-the-air broadcast TV.

Broadcast Calendar
This standard broadcast calendar, created in the 1960s, is designed to conform to the uniform billing period adopted by broadcasters, agencies and advertisers for billing and planning functions. Under this system, the standard week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. The standard broadcast billing month always ends on the last Sunday of the calendar month.

Broadcast Coverage Area
The geographic area that receives a signal from an originating television station.

Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD)
A video distribution approach that pertains to online and on-demand video content created and released by conventional broadcasters.

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Cable Television (Cable TV or CATV)
A television distribution system whereby TV signals are transmitted via cable (insulated wire), rather than through the air, to TV sets subscribers in a community or locality. Cable television systems are generally called cable systems; the companies that own and operate them are known as cable system operators or cablecasters.

A specific advertising effort on behalf of a particular product or service which extends for a specified period of time.

Category Development Index (CDI)
A measure of the relationship of a specific category’s sales to population in a specific geographic area. The CDI is derived by dividing an area’s percent of total U.S. sales by that area’s percent of population. Comparing BDI and CDI can be helpful in gauging brand or category potential.

CGM (Consumer Generated Media)
Word-of-mouth behavior on the internet, including opinions, experiences, advice and commentary about products, brands, companies and services.

Fees advertisers pay on-line companies to list specific products or services.

Click Command
A unique URL placed in front of a “raw” URL, which enables the system that created it to track the click activity.

Click Farm
Company set up to manually click on web ads 24 hours per day to either deplete a competitor’s ad budget or to increase a website owner’s own revenue.

Click Stream
A click stream is the sequence of clicks or pages requested as a visitor explores a website.

Number of times a link was clicked by a visitor.

Click-Through Rate/Ratio
The number of click-throughs for a specific link divided by the number of times that link was viewed.

Excessive amounts of advertising carried by media vehicles. Term refers to the total amount of advertising time and space and to scheduling long strings of consecutive commercials for broadcasting.

Coaxial Cable
A type of wiring that is widely used in the cable television industry and can carry voice, data, and video simultaneously. The coaxial is often referred to as simply a coax cable.

The process of reducing the size of a media file by eliminating data. Higher compression means that the compression utility defines greater amounts of data as redundant. This can lead to loss of image quality, but highly compressed images can be delivered more efficiently over a network.

A statement (verbal or written) given to advertising agencies by a network, station, or rep firm when accepting an order for a commercial and/or media schedule.

Contextual Ad
An advertisement in which the product may be of particular interest to the viewer

Contextual Search
Text links appear in an article based on the context of the content. Advertiser pays when the link is clicked.

Scheduling advertising consistently over a period of time without interruption in order to build or maintain advertising awareness and recall.

Converged Services
Combined services of voice, data, and video from one company.

A visitor completing a target action.

The act of more than one person in a household watching television at the same time.

A handle, transaction ID, or other token of agreement between programs. The purpose of a cookie is to relate a later transaction to the current one. When a web server places a cookie on a client’s hard disk, it can use that information in a subsequent connection to determine how information should be sent to that particular client. Netscape originated the concept. The decision of whether to accept a cookie offered by a web server is entirely up to the client. There is nothing inherently harmful or dangerous in accepting cookies, except that the client has no idea what information is transferred in the process.

CoOp Advertising
TV advertising paid for jointly by a manufacturer and retailer.

Someone who once had but then canceled pay TV service.

Someone who never subscribed to pay TV in the first place.

A payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations.

Cost-per-Action (CPA)
A cost model incurred based on a user taking some specifically defined action in respond to an ad. Examples of actions include sales transaction, customer acquisition or registration.

System where an advertiser pays an agreed amount for each click someone makes on a link leading to their website. Also known as CPC.

The price of placing an ad on a site based on how many leads the ad generates.

Cost per Rating Point (CPP)
Used by most media planners in developing and allocating market budgets and setting rating point goals. It is defined as the cost of reaching one percent of the target audience within a specified geographic area.

Average Cost per SpotCost of Schedule
Average Rating Point per SpotGross Rating Points

Cost per Thousand (CPM)
The cost of reaching 1,000 homes or individuals with a specific advertising message. CPM is a standard advertising measure to compare the relative cost efficiency of different programs, stations, or media.

The percentage of homes or persons receiving a particular broadcast signal within a specific geographic area.

A cash deduction for the loss of advertising time when a commercial is not aired or is improperly scheduled.

CTV (Connected TV)
Any TV set connected to the Internet used to stream video content.  This term includes Smart TVs, TV sets connected to internet set top boxes like Apple TV, Roku, or Amazon Fire Stick, as well as gaming consoles. 

Cumulative Audience (CUME)
It is the total non-duplicated audience for one or a series of telecasts, programs, messages, or time periods. It is expressed as a percentage of a given universe. A household or person is counted once no matter how many times the telecast has been viewed. This also is known as reach, net unduplicated audience, or net reach.

From the prophetic works of William Gibson in his science fiction classic, “Necromancer,” to describe an information network (or super highway). Gibson coined the word and now it is commonly used to describe the universe of electronic information represented by all the interconnected networks, computers, and communication systems scattered all over the world.

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The broadcast of information and other services using a digital television channel. Broadcasters can offer additional related information while a program is being viewed.

The time segments that divide the TV day for ad scheduling purposes. These segments generally reflect a television station’s programming patterns. Comparison of audience estimates between dayparts may indicate differences in size and composition of available audience. While dayparts may vary by market, station and affiliation, the most common dayparts* are:

Early Morning5:00am9:00amPrime8:00pm11:00pm (MSat)
Daytime9:00am3:00pm7:00pm11:00pm (Sunday)
Early Fringe3:00pm5:00pmLate News11:00pm11:30pm
Early News5:00pm7:00pmLate Fringe11:30pm2:00am
Prime Access7:00pm8:00pmOvernight2:00am5:00am
*Eastern Time

Direct Broadcast Satellite is a service whose signal is delivered directly to a viewer’s home via the use of the viewer’s own earth station dish. DBS is different from traditional satellite systems because subscribers use a smaller more versatile dish to receive programming at higher frequencies (KU-Brand). DBS includes systems referred to as DSS.

The portal screen on a wireless phone where the wireless carrier places links to content.

An electronic device used for converting a scrambled TV signal into a viewable picture.

Audience composition based on various socioeconomic characteristics such as age, sex, income, education, household size, occupation, etc.

Designated Market Area (DMA)
Represents an exclusive geographic area of counties in which the home market stations are estimated to have the largest quarterhour audience share (as defined by Nielsen).

Digital Television (DTV)
Generic term that refers to all digital television formats, including high definition television (HDTV) and standard-definition television (SDTV).

Digital Video Recorder (DVR)
Refers to “digital video recorder,” also known as “personal video recorder.” A DVR or PVR records broadcasts on a hard disk drive which can then be played back at a later time (this is known as “time shifting”). A DVR often enables smart programming, in which the device records an entire series or programming defined by keywords, genre, or personnel; and offers pause control over “live” broadcasts.

Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS)
Television technology that delivers signals directly from a satellite to a home through the use of a small (usually 18″) dish.

Direct Response
Advertising that seeks direct and prompt response from the viewer by means of exhibiting telephone numbers, box numbers, or other means of getting the viewer to order or inquire about objects shown.

A difference between station billing and the original order; requires a discussion between the buyer and the station before the invoice is paid.

Display Advertising
A static or hyper-linked ad banner or logo on one or more of a site’s pages.

Distant Signal
A television channel from another market (DMA) imported and carried locally by a cable television system.

In an internet address, the part of the naming hierarchy that consists of a sequence of characters separated by dots. The five most common types of domains are .com for company; .org for nonprofit organization; .edu for educational institution; .net for network operations; and .gov for government agency. The domains are administrated by Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC).

DRM (Digital Rights Management)
Term referring to technical methods used to handle the valuation and monitoring of rights held over a digital work.

Drop-in Ad
A local commercial inserted into a national program, or more generally, an advertising message inserted into a larger advertisement, as for a local dealer or retailer, or a phrase, such as a public service slogan, or symbol; also called a hitchhike ad.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
A twisted-pair copper wire connection with a special modem at either end that filters out background noise and interference and allows high-speed data transfer. It is limited to a transmission distance of 18 000 feet.

DTC (Direct to consumer)
A term often used for streaming video content as it bypasses conventional distribution methods (i.e., broadcast, cable, etc.). 

DTH (Direct-to-Home Satellite Television)
A digital receiver is needed to receive the multiplexed signals and view them on a TV.

DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television)
The means of receiving digital television using an aerial (TV antenna).

An instance where two stations in the same designated market area are owned by the same party. Though once forbidden by the FCC, the rules surrounding duopolies have been relaxed.

Dynamic Add Insertion (DAI)
A server-side video ad technology that allows distributors to serve video ads into live linear TV programming and video on demand content.

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The transfer of data from one computer to another. When computers connect, trading partners can conduct business transactions electronically. eBusiness promises a more efficient procedure for processing Spot TV buys electronically.

The relationship of media cost to audience delivery.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
See definition under eBusiness.

Electronic Programming Guide (EPG)
An on-screen display of channels and program data.

Email Advertising
Banner ads, links or advertiser sponsorships that appear in email newsletters, marketing campaigns and other commercial email communications.

Embedded Video
A video player that can be seen on one website but is hosted on another website through HTML-embeded code.

Embed Tag
An HTML tag used to place a media file (such as an audio, video, or flash file) into a web page. The embed tag defines an area on the page in which the media file will appear if it involves graphic elements, helps the browser understand what type of file it is, and specifies other info such as whether the file will play automatically when the page loads.

The act of encoding a file for the purpose of preventing other from gaining access to its contents.

Entry Page
The first page of a visit. Entry page should not be equated or confused with landing page.

Equal Time
The FCC’s Equal Opportunities Rule (part of Section 315 of the Communications Act) states that if a broadcast station or cable system gives or sells time to one candidate for public office, it must offer equivalent time to other candidates. News shows are exempt.

Exit Page
The last page on a site accessed during a visit, signifying the end of a visit/session.

A person’s physical contact with an advertising medium or message. It can be in visual and/or audio form.

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Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
An independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC’s jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions.

Filtered Click
A non-billable click.

FiOS (Fiber Optic Service)
A fiber to the premises (FTTP) telecommunications service offered by Verizon, the first major U.S. carrier to offer broadband internet access. Verizon is a major competitor of local cable television companies. It competes with current “Triple Play” offers, where the local cable company offers broadband internet access, digital cable, and VoIP telephone service.

A web term used to describe and angry email message or newsgroup post.

A scheduling tactic that alternates periods of advertising with periods of no activity.

Floating Ads
An ad that appears within the main browser window on top of the web page’s normal content, appearing to “float” over the top of the page.

A term to describe content placement on a page. The fold is the part of the screen that divides what can be seen initially (above the fold) from the content that is only visible by scrolling down (below the fold).

Fragmentation (Audience)
The increasing number of audience subdivisions which, together, constitute total TV usage. Television audiences are said to be fragmented, for example, across a broad spectrum of video sources: multiple broadcast networks, cable networks, syndicated programs, DBS services, VCR and video game usage, internet usage, etc.

Frames Per Second (fps)
The number of video frames displayed each second (also called frame rate). Continuous motion is believed to be achieved at about 17 fps. A common standard for video delivered over the web is 15 fps, which reduces file sizes substantially (since most video is shot at roughly 30 fps) but still allows for fairly smooth motion.

The average number of times an accumulated audience has the opportunity to be exposed to advertisements, a particular program, or program schedule, within a measured period of time. Reach x Frequency = Gross Rating Points.

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is one method used to move files from a local computer to a web server.

Fiber to the Premises or Fiber to the Home (FTTH) refers to a broadband telecommunications system based on fiber optic cables for delivery of multiple advanced services such as the triple play of telephone, broadband internet and television to homes and businesses.

Full Power TV Station
All full power analog television station transmissions in the U.S. were terminated at midnight (EDT) on June 12, 2009. Many broadcasters replaced their analog signal with their digital ATSC signal on the same transmission channel at the same time.

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Geographic Ad
An advertisement for a product that may appeal to a viewer based on the location of the business.

Geographic Targeting, or Geo-targeting
The process of identifying a brand’s geographic areas of opportunity, or the markets (DMAs) in which advertising is most likely to produce sales. Geographic targeting combines demographic and sales data to reach high-potential customers.

Stands for “Graphics Interchange Format.” A graphical file format commonly used to display color images on the web.

Global Frequency Capping
An ad serving feature that ensures only a certain number of ads are shown in a specific time period.

Gross Rating Points (GRP)
The sum of individual telecast ratings on a total program basis or advertiser commercial schedule, without regard to duplication. For example, 10 announcements each with a 10 rating would produce a total of 100 GRPs.

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Period in a campaign when an advertiser’s schedule is suspended for a short period of time, after which the schedule resumes.

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI)
The connection standard for transferring video and audio digitally from a source.

High Definition Television (HDTV)
Various technical systems providing a finer and wider TV picture and usually twice as many scanning lines as standard TV. Provides the highest quality picture and sound simultaneously with a substantial data delivery service.

Home Screen Ads
Static, or non-moving ads, that sit on a home screen.

A graphically defined area in an image that contains a hyperlink.

Stands for “Hyper Text Markup Language.” The language used to develop and create web pages.

HUT (Households Using Television)
The percentage of all television households in a survey area with one or more sets in use during a specific time period.

A graphic or word that when clicked will open another document. Hyperlinks are the primary way to navigate between web pages and websites.

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Image-Based Technology
Any ad that contains an image.

Interactive media player.

Impression Fraud
Repeatedly clicking on web pages to generate false impressions.

Number of homes or individuals exposed to an advertisement or group of advertisements.

Incremental Reach
Unique audiences exposed to your ads, beyond those you are reaching via other screens or mediums.

Independent Station
Stations not affiliated with any network, usually refers to commercial stations only.

A television commercial that is similar in appearance to a news program or talk show format, usually 30 minutes in length.

Interactive Television
A TV broadcast that allows a user to do something other than watch the program, from getting more information, submitting an email, or making a purchase.

Two or more cable systems distributing a commercial signal simultaneously, and offering a multiple system buy in which only one contract need be negotiated. Interconnects can be hard, where systems are directly linked by cable, microwave relays or by satellite, and the signal is fed to the entire Interconnect by one headend; or soft, where there is no direct operational connection between the participating systems.

Internet-of-Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

Invalid Traffic (IVT)
Invalid traffic includes both clicks and impressions that might not be the result of genuine user interest. This covers intentionally fraudulent traffic as well as accidental clicks and other mechanically generated traffic.

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television)
Television and/or video signals are distributed to subscribers or viewers using a broadband connection over Internet Protocol.

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A general-purpose programming language created by Sun Microsystems.

Java applet
A short program written in Java that is inserted into a web page to perform some function outside of the realm of HTML.

A cross-platform, World Wide Web scripting language developed by Netscape Communication.


A unit of measurement for the speed of data transferred.

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Landing Page
A page intended to identify the beginning of the user experience resulting from a defined marketing effort. Landing pages are often optimized for specific keywords, audiences, or calls to action, since they represent a touch point or an opportunity to present your message to the visitor. They have a particular importance in conveying information to motivate the visitor to become more engaged with the site.

The amount of time it takes for data to reach one point to another (video from an event to be seen by the viewer). Also referred to as lag or delay.

A horizontal ad unit that measures 728×90 pixels.

A lead-in is a program that immediately precedes another program on the same station or network. A lead-out is a program that immediately follows another program.

Linear OTT
An OTT service that delivers content from multiple TV, cable or satellite channels in real time.

Live Ratings
Nielsen Media Research term for ratings reported as strictly live with no DVR playback activity.

Live Plus Ratings
Nielsen Media Research term for live ratings plus seven day DVR playback activity.

Live Plus Same Day Ratings (Same Day Ratings)
Nielsen Media Research term for live ratings plus DVR playback activity until 3:00 am of the same Nielsen day.

Local Marketing Agreement (LMA)
An agreement between two owners in which one markets and sells advertising for the other.

Local Spot
The advertising purchased in a market and aimed only at the audience in that market.

A detailed list of a systems or applications activities.

The process users must complete to gain access to a computer or computer network.

Long Tail Theory
Because the internet allows for a vast variety of content, consumers will turn away from mass-marketing hits and embrace niche products.

Low Power Television (LPTV)
The FCC created LPTV service in 1982 to provide opportunities for locally-oriented television service in small communities. LPTV service offers programming that is less expensive and more flexible, making operation accessible to diverse groups and organizations like schools and religious groups. Due to the transition of analog to digital broadcasts on June 12, 2009, all full power and Class A television stations have ceased over-the-air analog broadcasting. LPTV stations can continue to transmit analog signals until the FCC completes the incentive auction.

LPM (Local People Meter)
Nielsen TV measurement methodology used in the top 25 DMA-ranked local markets. It is the same metering device used for national Nielsen data. The People Meter measures TV set-tuning and demographic data on a 52-week basis.

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A spot offered by a station in place of a regularly scheduled announcement that did not run or was improperly aired.

A region on a web page that displays a horizontal scrolling text message.

A web service or software tool that combines two or more tools to create a whole new service. The term is also used to describe user generated remixes of content from different sources.

Media Mix
The distribution of time and money allocated among TV, radio, print and internet advertising that makes up the total advertising budget of an advertiser, agency or media buyer.

Message Unit
An ad unit that measures 300×250 pixels.

Meta Tags
Special code inserted into a web page describing the contents of the page. Search engines look for these meta tags when indexing a website.

Metro Area
A U.S. Government definition; the counties that comprise each Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area.

A custom website designed specifically for an advertiser.

MMDS (Multi-Channel Multi-Point Distribution Systems)

Households use a specialized antenna and converter combination to receive TV signals. This technology is a carrier service for short distance line of sight transmission of TV programming to selected locations.

Mobile Video
Video distributed via a mobile device.

Mobisode is a media industry term for a broadcast television episode specially made for viewing on a mobile telephone screen and usually of short duration.

Mobile-enabled blogs that let users post photos from anywhere.

MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group)
A series of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards for digital video and audio, designed for different uses and data rates.

Broadcasting several programs at once via DTV on a single channel. A viewer might be able to receive two programs at the same time, and choose the program preferred.

MVPDs (Multichannel Video Programming Distributors)
Service providers that deliver programming over cable, satellite, or wireline or wireless networks.

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National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)
A nonprofit organization supported by TV and radio broadcasters whose purpose is to demonstrate to legislative bodies and other interested parties that broadcasters can maintain adequate standards without government interference.

National Spot
A form of broadcast advertising in which national advertisers, through their agency or buying service, select their target markets and stations to fit their marketing needs. The station usually has a contract with a rep firm to represent it to ad agencies.

A web term for the unwritten rules of internet courtesy. For Example USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IS CONSIDERED SHOUTING.

A connecting system which allows simultaneous telecasting of a single origination by a number of stations.

Gathers the news from multiple blogs or news sites via RSS, allowing readers to access news from a single website or program.

New Visitor
The number of unique visitors with activity including a first-ever visit to a site during a reporting period.

Nielsen Media Research (NMR)
A firm involved in local and national measurement of the TV audience; also involved in other research activities.

Nielsen Station Index (NSI)
Local market audience measurement reports.

Nielsen Television Index (NTI)
National network audience measurement reports.

National television system committee. The organization that developed the analog television standard currently in use in the U.S., Canada, and Japan. Now generally used to refer to that standard. The NTSC standard combines blue, red, and green signals modulated as an AM signal with an FM signal for audio.

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O&O Station
A television station owned and operated by a national network.

Term used for a method of media planning using computer programs that develop the optimum media mix to spend advertising dollars most effectively. These media modeling systems allocate using media audience and cost data for all measured media vehicles plus the brand’s requirements in terms of budget, target audience, reach & frequency goals and other factors. Television optimizers identify the combination of programs, dayparts and stations that will optimize reach at the lowest cost.

Opt in
A direct, pro-active request by an individual email recipient to have their email address added to a specific mailing list.

Opt out
An email subscription practice by which users request to be deleted from an email distribution list by either selecting a link, or sending an email that requests their address be deleted.

A scheduling method in which the advertiser’s commercials are rotated among different programs and/or time periods; this may also be called a rotation.

Over-the-Air (OTA)
Also known as terrestrial television, a wireless broadcast of television using antennas.

Over-the-Top (OTT)
Any app or website that provides streaming video content over the internet and bypasses traditional distribution; examples include HBO Now, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube. Traditional distribution includes IPTV, cable, satellite, wireless carriers and fiber operators, multiple system operators (MSOs), multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), and major TV broadcast and cable networks.

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A combination of commercial units offered as a group to an advertiser. A package is generally priced more attractively than the collective costs for each commercial unit. A package may also be called a rotation or scatter plan.

A page is an analyst definable unit of content on a website.

Page Exit Ratio
Number of exits from a page divided by total number of page views of that page. Page exit ratio applies to all visits regardless of length.

An ad that prohibits a user from viewing content on web page until the ad is complete or closed.

Page View
The loading of a web page by a browser.

Page Views
The number of times a page on a website (an analyst-definable unit of content) was viewed.

Page Views per Visit
The number of page views in a reporting period divided by number of visits in the same reporting period.

Paid Inclusion
A marketer’s URL is indexed by a search engine so as to appear at or near the top of search results.

Paid Listings
Text links appear at the top or side of search results for specific keywords. Payment is based on user clicks on the text link.

Pay for Performance (P4P)
A term used in advertising to define a pricing model that pays the marketing or advertising agency based on the performance of the particular campaign relative to the client’s expectations.

An internet ad model in which the advertiser only pays if a visitor both clicks on the ad and does something like generates a lead or makes a purchase.

The ability to track offline sales through unique toll-free phone numbers.

An advertising pricing model in which advertisers pay agencies based on how many consumers clicked on a promotion.

Pay-per-View TV (PPV)
A system in which payment is made for a single showing of a program. Subscribers of the pay television company can phone in their “orders” prior to a showing, activate the system – that is, clear the scrambled channel – or press a button to utilize two-way equipment that activates the system.

Pay Television (Pay TV)
Home television programming for which the viewer pays by the program or by the month; also called pay television, subscription television (STV), or toll TV. Pay television includes over-the-air transmission (with scrambled signals) and cable transmission (pay cable).

Peer-to-Peer (P2P)
Relies primarily on the computing power and bandwidth of the participants in the network rather than concentrating it in a relatively low number of servers.

A proportion of households owning televisions or subscribing to cable.

Personal People Meter (PPM)
Hardware developed by Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio) in use in 48 markets. The PPM is a pager-sized device that is worn by consumers throughout the day to automatically detect inaudible codes that radio and television broadcasters and cable networks embed in the audio portion of their programming.

Personal Video Recorder (PVR)
PVRs are digital devices that use a hard drive instead of videotape as the recording medium. PVRs blend the features of a VCR with the programmability and storage of a computer.

Persons Using Television (PUT)
A measurement of the total number of people in the target audience who are watching television for five minutes or longer during an average quarterhour. PUT is generally expressed as a percent.

The back-to-back scheduling of two or more brand commercials of one advertiser in network or spot positions.

3rd party software that increases the features of a web browser.

A group of commercials, promos or announcements contained in a television program break.

A method of publishing files to the internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed and receive new files automatically by subscription.

Pop-Under Ad
An ad that displays in a new browser window behind the current browser window.

A pop-up is a small window that appears on a website over a visual interface (your screen). A pop-up can be initiated by clicking a link or a mouse rollover. Pop-up ads are advertisements that work in the same way, but are not welcome or expected by the user.

A website or service that offers a broad array of resources and services, such as email, forums, search engines, and online shopping malls

Post Buy Analysis
An analysis of schedule performance after it runs; offers a means of measuring a media buy as run versus goal or original estimate of achievement.

An omission of an announcement from a previously confirmed broadcast schedule; the advertiser is either offered a makegood or takes a credit.

Private marketplaces (PMP)
Customizable, invitation-only marketplaces where premium publishers make their inventory available to buyers.

A tool that helps automate the decision-making process of media buying by targeting specific audiences and demographics. Programmatic ads are placed using artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time bidding (RTB) for online display, social media advertising, mobile and video campaigns, and is expanding to traditional TV advertising marketplaces. Also called “automated” TV buying.

Audience analysis on the basis of psychological factors such as lifestyles, values, and interests and how they affect purchase behavior.

Term used to describe how a wireless subscriber obtains content when they ask (i.e., pull) content to themselves.

An entity whose primary choice of order processing and collection is Internet based.

Term used to describe how a wireless subscriber obtains content when they don’t specifically ask for it each time.

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Quarter Hour Audience
Individuals viewing a station at least five minutes in a specific 15 minute period.

To request information from a database. When you use a search engine you are actually querying a database.

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Radio Button
A form field that presents the user with a selection of choices that can be chosen by clicking on a circular button, similar to a check box.

A percentage of total households or population owning TVs who are tuned to a particular program or station at a specific time (e.g., a six rating for women 1849 means 6 percent of all women 1849 in the defined geographic area were viewing that station or program).

Rating Point
A value equal to one percent of a population or universe.

The number of unduplicated households or people exposed to a program, group of programs, or an advertiser’s schedule over a specific time period. Reach x Frequency = Gross Rating Points

Fees advertisers pay to on-line companies that refer qualified leads or purchase inquiries.

The referrer is the page URL that originally generated the request for the current page view or object. Types of referrers include, internal referrer, external referrer, search referrer, visit referrer, original referrer.

Registered User
A user of a website whose name and password have been recorded within the website. Some websites only allow registered users access to their content.

Repeat Visitor
The number of unique visitors with activity consisting of two or more visits to a site during a reporting period.

Rep Firm
Media sales representation company with offices in major advertising centers which represents stations in various markets for national advertising sales.

Return Visitor
The number of unique visitors with activity consisting of a visit to a site during a reporting period and where the unique visitor also visited the site prior to the reporting period. New visitors and return visitors qualifies when the visitor started visiting the site. It is possible for a visitor to be counted as both new and repeat or both return and repeat during a reporting period.

Rich Internet Applications (RIA)
Web applications that have the features and functionality of traditional desktop applications. RIAs typically transfer the processing necessary for the user interface to the web client but keep the bulk of the data (i.e., maintaining the state of the program, the data etc) back on the application server. RIAs offer a richer functionality and more engaging applications in the technology being used on the client side, including drag and drop, using a slider to change data, calculations performed only by the client and which do not need to be sent back to the server, for example, a mortgage calculator. Google Maps is an example of a site using RIA technology.

Rich Media
Advanced technology used in internet ads, such as streaming video, applets that allow user interaction, and special effects.

Road Blocking
The scheduling of a brand’s commercial at approximately the same time on all networks, or all stations in a given market.

Scheduling of advertising in the same program or time period on different days each week (horizontal rotation) or throughout a particular day (vertical rotation) in order to increase advertising exposure to different prospects.

RPD (Return Path Data)
Household level tuning data provided via cable/satellite set top boxes capable of returning data back to the operator.  This methodology is used by both Comscore and Nielsen for local TV measurement.

RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication)
Rich Site Summary, or Really Simple Syndication – A lightweight XML format for distributing news headlines and other content on the web.

Run of Schedule (ROS)
Scheduling of commercials at any time of a station’s choosing.

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SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. In 2012, SAG-AFTRA was created by combining two labor unions: the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Members work together to secure the strongest protections for media artists.

Satellite Station
A station that has agreed to rebroadcast the transmission of another station (generally operating in a larger nearby market) to an area that cannot otherwise be served by that station.

The concentration of a heavy amount of advertising in a short period of time in order to attain maximum reach.

Scatter Plan
Scheduling method where the advertiser’s commercials are rotated among a broadly described group of programs and/or time periods. The advantage is that the advertiser gains a greater net audience (reach); the disadvantage may be that the station may include less attractive spots/commercial units in the schedule.

A listing of the time of day and dates an advertiser’s commercials are planned to run.

Any database query that results in successful retrieval of records.

Search Advertising
Advertisers pay on-line companies to list and/or link their company site domain name to a specific search word or phrase.

Search Engine
A database front end that allows a user to seek information on the internet by keyword. Search engines may look for titles of documents, URLs, headers, or text.

A computer that houses websites and is connected to the internet 24 hours a day.

Set Meter (SM)
Set top boxes or meters deployed by Nielsen Media research that measure household tuning only, with no persons measurement (demographics) ability.  This technology is combined with the Portable People Meter, or RPD (Return Path Data).  Demographic information in SM+PPM or SM+RPD markets is modeled using Nielsen’s Viewer Assignment methodology.

Settop Box (STB)
These receivers (named because they typically sit on top of a television set) convert and display broadcasts from one frequency or type – analog cable, digital cable, or digital television – to a standard frequency (typically channel 3 or 4) for display on a standard analog television set.

The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, network, or station at a specific time.

Share-of-Voice (SOV)
A ratio of impressions bought to the total impressions available on a website.

Software that is freely available for download on the web, but if you like and use it, should pay for it. Generally a very nominal fee.

Simulcast is a contraction of “simultaneous broadcast” and refers to programs or events broadcast across more than one medium at the same time. As an example, many broadcasters use simulcasting to deliver foreign language programming.

Single Page View Visits (Bounces)
Visits that consist of one page-view.

Single-Page Visits
Visits that consist of one page regardless of the number of times the page was viewed. For a single-page visit, the entry page and exit page are the same page. Single-page visits should not be equated or confused with single page view visits.

Site Optimization
A website modification to make it easier for search engines to index the site, leading to better placement in results.

A vertical ad unit that measures 160×600 or 120×600 pixels.

Slotting Fees
Fees charged to advertisers by online companies to secure premium positioning of an advertisement on their site, category exclusivity or similar preference positioning.

SMATV (Satellite Master Antenna Television)
SMATV usually serves a housing complex or hotel. The TV signals are received via satellite and over the air broadcast stations and distributed to the units by coaxial cable.

SMS (Short Message Service)
Text messaging via a mobile device.

Social bookmarking
The ability to save and categorize a personal collection of bookmarks and share them with others. Users may also take bookmarks saved by others and add them to their own collection, as well as to subscribe to the lists of others.

Social media
Online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives with each other.

Social Networking
Websites that allow people to link to others to share opinions, insights experiences and perspectives, whether it’s music fans, business contacts or classmates. Many media sites have adopted social networking features such as blogs, message boards, podcasts and wikis to help build online communities around their content.

The penetration of a television signal transmitted from outside the market area.

The transmission of a television signal beyond its own market area.

When a character/characters and/or a concept from a television series is developed as its own series. Examples include “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” spun off from “Law & Order,” and “Young Sheldon” spun off from “Big Bang Theory.”

Blogs which are intentionally fake and are created to increase a page rank, get ad impressions and/or use the blog as a link to get new sites indexed.

Sponsored Link
Text-based ads that appear as a result of a keyword search.

The purchase of all or part of a television program by one advertiser.

Spot TV

The advertising time purchased from individual stations. There are two major types local and national. Local spots are purchased in one market and aimed only at the audience in that particular market. National spots are bought by national advertisers in several markets.

Standard Definition TV Format (SDTV)
There are two main digital formats – HDTV and SDTV. SDTV typically does produce better quality images than that of traditional analog TV and pictures somewhat akin to digital cable. However, its images are not nearly as sharp as the images from the ultimate form of digital television: High-definition TV (HDTV).

Standard Error
The estimated standard deviation of a statistic (margin of error). Standard error of a sample mean equals sample standard deviation divided by the square root of the sample size.

Streaming Media
Video or audio transmitted over a network that users can begin to play immediately instead of waiting for the entire file to download. QuickTime and Windows Media are the most common streaming formats.

Refers to a television program aired five days a week, mainly Monday-Friday.

Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD)
A service that gives users unlimited access to a wide range of programs for a monthly flat rate.

A station that provides satellite transmission of its signal to cable systems throughout the country. The extended coverage allows the superstation to claim increased viewership.

The use of advanced techniques to prevent targeting a user who has already bought a product or service.

Ratings surveys in which local markets are simultaneously measured by a rating service.

Syndicated Program
A program that is produced for national distribution, but which is shown on individual local stations rather than on a national network is called a syndicated program. These programs may be sponsored either locally or nationally.

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Keywords attached to photos or web pages to help identify them and allow them show up in search engines.

Target Audience
The audience most desired by advertisers in terms of potential product/service usage and revenue potential.

Television Households
An estimate of the number of households that have one or more television sets.

A program that allows you to connect to other computers on the internet.

When viewers record broadcasts, such as on a DVR, for playback at a later time.

Total ADS
Households that receive TV reception from an Alternate Delivery system. ADS Households that also have cable are included. It is comprised of Broadband only, DBS, Large Satellite Dish, SMATV, and MMDS households.

Total Audience
Percent of households tuning to all or to any portion of a program for at least 6 minutes.

Total Survey Area (TSA)
A geographic area term; includes metro area and any additional counties where a statistically significant amount of viewing can be attributed to stations originating in the metro area. These outlying counties may well be a part of an adjacent metro area or DMA.

Transactional VOD (TVOD)
A service in which users pay individually for each program consumed, whether on a sale or rental basis; includes pay-per-view.

Triple Play
Expression used by service operators describing a consumer package including telephony, data and video. Offering triple play on a broadband connection requires the use of IPTV and IP Telephony (VoIP).

TV Everywhere (TVE)
A streaming service operated by a TV, cable or satellite network—or by an MVPD—that requires users to authenticate their pay TV subscriptions in order to access the content.

TV Usage
Households Using Television (HUT) and Persons Using Television (PUT); total viewing to all television.

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Ultra High Frequency (UHF)
An area of the broadcast spectrum that carries television signals for stations with channels 14 through 83.

Point-to-point, one-to-one transmission of data. Unicasting is the standard transmission method on the internet. Webcasting, by contrast, is the process of broadcasting digital information to all parties tuned in to a channel through which data is pushed, or it is the process of sending software updates on request to multiple points.

Unique Page View

The review of a web page by an individual visitor.

Unique User
Unique individual or browser which has either accessed a site or which has been served unique content and/or ads such as email, newsletters, interstitials and pop-under ads.

Unique Visitors
The number of inferred individual people (filtered for spiders and robots), within a designated reporting time-frame, with activity consisting of one or more visits to a site. Each individual is counted only once in the unique visitor measure for the reporting period.

Universe Estimate (UE)
The population chosen for a research study. The estimated number of actual households or people from which the sample will be taken and to which data will be projected.

The first selling wave for broadcast and cable networks and syndication. It usually occurs in the spring after the new fall schedules have been announced and presented to major advertisers. The commercial time not sold in the upfront is sold later in the season in the scatter market.

Is the acronym for a website’s Uniform Resource Locator, also known as a web address. It is generally displayed in web browsers with a leading HTTP, HTTPS, or www. A URL may contain a specific character string linking to a specific website resource; for example pages, images and files. Most web browsers display the URL of a web page in its address bar at the top of the site or in a status bar at the bottom of the browser.

Person using or accessing the World Wide Web.

User-generated content
Various kinds of media content that are produced by end-users, as opposed to traditional media producers, licensed broadcasters and production companies.

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Video Clip
A movie that can be embedded into a web page.

Viewability is an online advertising metric that aims to track only impressions that can actually be seen by users.

Viewer Assignment 
A statistical technique deployed by Nielsen Media Research to determine persons viewing in a TV household and leverages known viewing information from Nielsen’s LPM+PPM (Local People Meter + Personal People Meter) sample as learning data in order to create demographic probabilities in Set Meter homes where no persons viewing data is available.

Viewers Per Viewing Household (VPVH)
The number of viewing persons tuning in per household; usually reported as “per 1000 viewing households.”

ViP (Viewers in Profile)
The local television ratings book from Nielsen Media Research, issued after each sweeps period for each of the 210 television markets (DMAs) in the U.S. After June 2018, the electronic version will be retired and then be available through a web-based dashboard in Nielsen Answers.

Viral Marketing
Any marketing technique that induces websites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users.

Viral Video
Video content made popular through sharing, typically through email or media sharing websites.

Virtual multichannel video programming distributor (VMVPD)
A service that provides multiple television channels through the internet without supplying its own data transport infrastructure (i.e. coaxial cable, fiber, or satellite technology).

A visit or session is an interaction, by an individual, with a website consisting of one or more requests for an analyst-definable unit of content (i.e. “page view”). If an individual has not taken another action (typically additional page views) on the site within a specified time period, the visit session will terminate.

Visit Duration
The length of time in a session. Calculation is typically the time-stamp of the last activity in the session minus the timestamps of the first activity of the session. When there is only one piece of activity in a session (a single-page visit or single-event visit), no visit duration is typically reported.

Visit Referrer
The visit referrer is the first referrer in a session, whether internal, external or null.

A single internet user using a program (usually a browser) to access a site page.

Video-based journals posted online.

VMVPDs (Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributors)
Service providers that deliver programming over the Internet instead of cable or satellite.  Examples of this would be YouTube TV, Hulu Live, Sling TV, Fubo, etc.

VOD (Video on demand)
A system that allows users to select video programming from a broadband network. The system affords the user playback controls over a video.

The online delivery of video-on-demand (VOD) content via RSS enclosures. It is an evolution of “podcast,” the term for audio-based content delivery.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
The routing of voice conversations over the internet or any other IP-based network. The voice data flows over a general-purpose packet-switched network, instead of traditional dedicated, circuit-switched voice transmission lines.

Stands for Virtual Reality Modeling Language and is used to create 3D environments or web pages that allow users to move around within the environment.

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Communicating to multiple computers at the same time over internet by “streaming” live audio and/or live video through compression and decompression of the signal.

A short video available only on the web.

Web Page
A Web Page is a document written in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that can be accessed on the internet.

A location managed by a single entity that provides information such as text, graphics, and audio or video files to users as well as connections (called hyperlinks or links) to other websites.

Web Sponsorship
Advertiser sponsors targeted website or section of website, usually containing some banner ad element.

Weighted Average
A statistical quantity calculated by multiplying each value in a group by an assigned weight, summing these products and dividing the total by the sum of the weights.

A third party item that can be embedded in a web page.

A website or similar online resource which allows users to add and edit content collectively.

A free content, multilingual encyclopedia written collaboratively by contributors around the world. The site is a Wiki – anybody can edit and add to an article.

Wraparound Commercial
A commercial with noncommercial material wrapped around it, such as a question about a past sports event at the beginning and the answer at the end; sometimes called an insert, as when it is inserted within a movie surrounded by questions about the movie.

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XML (Extensible Markup Language)
A general purpose standard for describing, or marking up, documents and data distributed on the web. XML allows authors to create customized tags that can help them efficiently achieve their goals.


Zip File
A compressed file that contains data; the file is unzipped using a program such as WinZip. The files are uncompressed and readable in their original format. It is common to “zip up” a large file before attaching it and sending it in a email. The zipped file is smaller and doesn’t take as long to download. All zip files have a .zip extension.

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