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Old 03-19-2013, 09:46 AM  
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Nielsen rating system is dead

Thank god



http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/...Top+Stories%29




On February 7, the fourth season of Community kicked off on NBC. It was something of a shock that the show had survived for so long. It ranked 193rd among broadcast shows. In May 2012, series creator and showrunner Dan Harmon had been unceremoniously canned. And on the night it aired, the season premiere pulled in just 4 million viewers. That’s a mere quarter of the audience enjoyed by ratings juggernauts like Two and a Half Men or The Big Bang Theory. It even underperformed a rerun of the ABC reality show Shark Tank on the Nielsen charts.

Until recently, those 4 million viewers would have been the end of the story. Just a few years ago, similar niche favorites like Jericho and Firefly were summarily executed for such numbers. In fact, cult legend Freaks and Geeks averaged nearly 7 million viewers in its single, 1999-2000 season before getting canceled. But that night in February, Community accomplished something that none of those shows ever had the chance to do—it spawned two worldwide trending topics on Twitter.

All of your favorite shows are ratings dogs. Breaking Bad, Girls, Mad Men—each struggles to get a Nielsen score higher than 3, representing about 8.7 million viewers. And it’s not just cable. NBC’s 30 Rock struggled to top a score of 2.5, and Parks and Recreation rarely cracks Nielsen’s top 25. There are two possible conclusions to draw from these facts: (1) All these shows should be canceled, or (2) maybe the ratings are measuring the wrong thing. Since the 1970s, television has been ruled by the Nielsen Family—25,000 households whose TV habits collectively provide a statistical snapshot of a nation’s viewing behavior. Over the years, the Nielsen rating has been tweaked, but it still serves one fundamental purpose: to gauge how many people are watching a given show on a conventional television set. But that’s not how we watch any more. Hulu, Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Roku, iTunes, smartphone, tablet—none of these platforms or devices are reflected in the Nielsen rating. (In February Nielsen announced that this fall it would finally begin including Internet streaming to TV sets in its ratings.)

And the TV experience doesn’t stop when the episode ends. We watch with tablets on our laps so we can look up an actor’s IMDb page. We tweet about the latest plot twist (discreetly, to avoid spoilers). We fill up the comments section of our favorite online recappers. We kibitz with Facebook friends about Hannah Horvath’s latest paramour. We start Tumblrs devoted to Downton decor. We’re engaging with a show even if we aren’t watching it, but none of this behavior factors into Nielsen’s calculation of its impact.

So far, advertisers don’t have a good way to track that viral activity. But many of them are willing to pay for it—even if the official Nielsen ratings don’t measure up. “It’s more about the social media zeitgeist of the program,” says Jackie Kulesza, a senior vice president at Starcom USA, which buys advertising time. 30 Rock, which managed to stay on the air for seven seasons despite perennially low ratings, “was very strong in this area.” That helps explain why Nielsen and others have been scrambling to generate a new kind of TV rating, one that takes into account all of the activity that occurs on screens other than a television. In November, Nielsen purchased SocialGuide, which analyzes “the social impact of linear television,” according to the company’s website. One month later, it announced a partnership with Twitter in an effort to devise a new social-TV rating, which will debut this fall. In February, Twitter itself purchased Bluefin Labs, a social-TV analytics company.

It all adds up to a potentially thrilling new era for television, one that values shows that spark conversations, not just those that hook us for 30 minutes. The stakes are high: Get it right and great programming will continue to thrive. Get it wrong and the $70 billion television industry is in jeopardy—and so is your favorite show.

In the years after its founding in Chicago in 1923, the A.C. Nielsen Company thrived, thanks to a commitment to math and technology. While its competitors called random households and asked them what they happened to be listening to on the radio at that moment, Nielsen developed more sophisticated sampling methods. Rather than rely solely on self-reporting, Nielsen employed a device called the Audimeter that used photographic tape to automatically record listening activity. When television arrived, Nielsen used similar meters for viewing—although they were supplemented with paper diaries. But by the late 1950s, Nielsen sat comfortably atop the media-ratings industry. It had few competitors, and since television habits remained static, it had little reason to keep innovating.

But the widespread adoption of the DVR in the mid-2000s roused Nielsen from its torpor. In 2007 the company hammered out its “C3″ rating, a metric that includes the number of people who watched a show—and therefore the commercials—up to three days after its original airing. (The company also came up with a C7 tabulation, tracking audiences for a full week.) Networks loved the number—it seemed a truer representation of their shows’ actual audience. But at first advertisers didn’t pay much attention. Viewers who recorded a show on a DVR were assumed to be fast-forwarding through the commercials and thus immune to sales pitches.

Over time, though, that meant ignoring more and more viewers. Today, it’s not rare for a huge portion of a show’s audience to watch it well after it originally aired. CBS, for example, recently released data showing that the viewership for its Sherlock Holmes reboot, Elementary, skyrocketed when seven days were tracked—its rating among the valuable 18- to 49-year-old demographic shot up 64 percent. (And there’s no reason to stop at seven days. Millions of hours of TV get watched beyond the one-week cutoff. Science fiction shows, it turns out, are particularly likely to be watched more than a week after they air.)

Eventually, advertisers began to find ways to reach even those ad-skipping viewers. They created campaigns that mimicked the look of the show they aired against—in some cases using the same locations and actors—in an effort to trick fans into releasing the fast-forward button. (There’s even a name for these spots: podbusters.) And they optimized their spots so that their brand could be recognizable even at six times the normal playing speed. Indeed, some researchers have found that fast-forwarders are even more attentive to ads, since they’re watching closely to see when the commercial block has ended.

The lesson is that once you identify and track how an audience actually interacts with television, it’s only a matter of time until advertisers create ways to sell stuff to that audience. And when a full 40 percent of Twitter’s traffic during peak usage is about television, it’s not hard to see where the action is headed. “This is a huge topic of conversation,” says Steve Hasker, Nielsen’s president of media products and advertiser solutions. “Their ad sales guys want to be able to go to the market and say, ‘Our program has three times the engagement, because we’ve got many more people tweeting about it—and by the way, they’re young, they’re tech-savvy, and they buy lots of products.’”

And that’s why, some day in the near future, a show’s tweetability may be just as crucial as the sheer size of its audience. It’s something that advertisers and networks already realize, albeit in a vague and unquantified way. But as Nielsen—and other analytics companies—race to capture a show’s true impact across all platforms, it will change the way those shows are valued. That’s good news for television that is worth talking about, watching again, chewing on, Tumbling over. It’s good news for all of us.

Last edited by Deberg_1990; 03-19-2013 at 10:18 AM..
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:11 AM   #2
kaplin42 kaplin42 is offline
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Read halfway through and then got bored. Point is they realize that they need to change their business model to adapt to how we do things today.

Music and Movie industry could take a lesson from them.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:15 AM   #3
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Originally Posted by kaplin42 View Post
Read halfway through and then got bored. Point is they realize that they need to change their business model to adapt to how we do things today.

Music and Movie industry could take a lesson from them.
Yea, mainly its no longer important to be a “ratings point” hit TV show. Its all about creating buzz….tweets, facebook, message boards, word of mouth etc…..
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:22 AM   #4
Mr. Laz Mr. Laz is offline
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they just need to have anonymous show tracking so advertisers can see real stats of how many people are watching a show. On Directv you can go to this channel that shows which t.v. is currently being watched the most in your region and also nationwide. I'm sure they can do that through cable boxes too.

then they can use Nielson etc to get the more specific demo information
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
bevischief bevischief is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr. Laz View Post
they just need to have anonymous show tracking so advertisers can see real stats of how many people are watching a show. On Directv you can go to this channel that shows which t.v. is currently being watched the most in your region and also nationwide. I'm sure they can do that through cable boxes too.

then they can use Nielson etc to get the more specific demo information
What channel?
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:48 AM   #6
Mr. Laz Mr. Laz is offline
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What channel?
it's the 'Active Channel'

special button on the bottom of remote(mine anyway)


channel 9999

on the weather section ... has 5 day weather forecast on the top and 'who's hot' channels listed below.
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