Nielsen has come up with this notion:

A DMA region is a group of counties that form an exclusive geographic area[...]

DMAs partition all US counties, and I want to know which counties belong to which DMAs.

There are public GIS shape files for DMAs and presumably also for US counties. So, if I knew GIS software, I could conceivably find the answer.

I am wondering if there is public data containing this information in a tabular, not geospatial, format (e.g., with two columns: key = county; value = DMA).

  • 1
    If you want to try to DIY, check out qGIS which is like ESRI ArcGIS but open source and free. You could also look into something like SafeFME to do some of this analysis (there is a free trial) Dec 10, 2014 at 19:07
  • The first link you gave describes a "Zip by DMA" product: "The ZIP by DMA database provides ZIP Code listings within U.S. counties by DMA region." Isn't that what you want? Is it non-free? It says it's an Excel file delivered by email; presumably you have to fill out a form to request it.
    – J. Miller
    Dec 10, 2014 at 22:01
  • 1
    @J.Miller It is nonfree as far as I can tell. They have not yet replied to my email.
    – Frank
    Dec 11, 2014 at 16:06

4 Answers 4


A 2011 court decision found that Nielsen's DMA maps are protectable by copyright. This article from Bloomberg goes into the details. Here is the formal opinion

Thus, technically, DMA shapes are not freely available and must be licensed from Nielsen.

  • they came to an agreement Nielsen vs TruckAd truckads.com/press-releases/…
    – Jeryl Cook
    May 19, 2020 at 21:43
  • 1
    Reading that page, it's not clear what the agreement is. The page says "TRUCKADS® Designated Market Maps and NIELSEN® Designated Market Areas are almost identical", not that they are the same thing. Aug 12, 2020 at 15:08

This FCC link has some archived data on Designated Marketing Areas.


This TV marketing firm may also provide some useful data on DMA(s):

http://www.tvb.org/media/file/TVB_Market_Profiles_Nielsen_Household_DMA_Ranks2.pdf http://www.tvb.org/research/measurement/131627

Here's somebody's cool project using various data about DMA(s):


  • 1
    the shapefiles link is doa for me, but per usual: saved by the wayback machine: web.archive.org/web/20100528001447/http://www.fcc.gov/bureaus/…
    – albert
    Dec 11, 2014 at 4:56
  • @albert Ah, thanks, I hadn't thought of that. archive.org doesn't work for me either, actually, but maybe I'll try it again later. The FCC's shape files probably duplicate the info in simzou's (the guy linked to in both my Q and this A), though.
    – Frank
    Dec 11, 2014 at 16:03
  • Regarding the TV marketing firm, yeah, they may sell the info. The more logical marketing firm from which to buy the info I seek would be Nielsen. That is probably what I'll do, since it sounds like there is no "open data" on this, and Nielsen packages the info nicely, it sounds like.
    – Frank
    Dec 11, 2014 at 16:05
  • guys....i actually can't download the data...it only comes part ways and then dies. so perhaps that link is doa as well
    – albert
    Dec 11, 2014 at 16:34

For anyone else needing this information, it looks like Gaurav Sood compiled the relevant data and provided code to create the tables that link:

DMA to county

DMA to zip

  • 1
    Legally probably not, but practically it seems so.
    – Dan Katz
    May 19, 2020 at 16:47

The above answers/comments are significantly outdated data... so I hope this updated answer helps someone.

It was painful, but we created an API that has the latest from DMA Map 2019, and DMA 2020( DMA Rank, TV in Homes, % of US) ).

The GeoJson boundaries were generated from www.boundaries-io.com internal code and US Census zip code boundaries.

The data is public to do yourself: https://mediatracks.com/resources/nielsen-dma-rankings-2020/

Our API is used by 400+ businesses large and small and have a small monthly cost.

*disclaimerI do work for this company. https://boundaries-io.com example:enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.