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What does "DMA" mean in advertising?

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DMA is an acronym that stands for designated market area. The term is primarily used in advertising and marketing when discussing Nielsen ratings for television stations.

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The United States is divided into 210 DMAs that represent television media markets. DMAs can be geographically small, such as the DMA for Glendive, Mont., which is ranked #210, or it can span the boundaries of an entire state, as is the case for the Salt Lake City DMA, which is ranked #34. Every county is in a DMA, and television viewing habits, not geographic proximity, decide to which DMA a county belongs. The Nielsen Company publishes an annual list of DMAs, ranking each area by audience size, and occasionally shifts a county from one DMA to another based on television viewing habits.

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