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Media Heavyweights Take On Nielsen


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#1 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 10:14 AM

Media Heavyweights Take On Nielsen

Financial Times | Media
By Kenneth Li in New York

Top US media companies and marketers have created a consortium to challenge the dominant force in TV audience measurement.

Nielsen controls the measurement of US audiences through the polling of 18,000 homes, where viewer habits are measured by clicks of a special remote control.

Media participants in the consortium – including networks owned by NBC Universal, Time Warner, News Corp, Viacom, CBS, Discovery and Walt Disney...

More @ FT.com

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Edited by Nick, 14 August 2009 - 10:31 AM.

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#2 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 10:26 AM

Just finished reading this before coming here. Reading that the group includes advertisers Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and AT&T as well as some of the major agencies made my day.

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#3 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 10:30 AM

Their numbers have been stacked since the beginning. The typical Neilsen family is NOT the typical American family. I'll never understand how they were allowed to get so influential.
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#4 OFFLINE   jeffshoaf

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 10:42 AM

Their numbers have been stacked since the beginning. The typical Neilsen family is NOT the typical American family. I'll never understand how they were allowed to get so influential.


I'd guess that they feel that some number was better than no number... And as long as all of the numbers are measured the same way, semi-valid comparisons could be made.

#5 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 10:48 AM

I guess my question is, "what's a better way to do it?"
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#6 OFFLINE   coldsteel

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 10:56 AM

Get all Big-Brother-ish and track actual viewing somehow.
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#7 OFFLINE   Lee L

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 11:06 AM

I guess my question is, "what's a better way to do it?"


Well a start would have been to allow more advanced households to participate starting several years ago. Instead, they denied HD viewers to participate in metering until a couple of years ago and only started measuring dvr users after that. This excluded quite a few people over several years
that would potentially skew toward watching similar shows. However, grandma with her analog tv running off Rabbit ears was well represented.


DirecTV, please don't make me have to go back to watching March Madness in standard Def! Oh, and the usual begging for AMC and BBC America. You are so close to actually being the HD Leader.

#8 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 11:10 AM

They could have relaxed or dropped most of their criteria so it would be a more random sample instead of the fixed Cleaver/Nelson family portrait. And why such a low number as 18,000. Wouldn't 180,000 or 1.8 million be a better cross-section?
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#9 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 11:18 AM

There's no way they could use me though. I'd scramble their numbers good. My attention span is so screwed up, I rarely, if ever watch as single program from start to finish. I'm constatntly channel surfing. If a show goes to commercial or hits a boring spot in the storyline, I'm gone to something else. I may come back to any given show later. Or not.
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#10 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 11:24 AM

There's no way they could use me though. I'd scramble their numbers good. My attention span is so screwed up, I rarely, if ever watch as single program from start to finish. I'm constatntly channel surfing. If a show goes to commercial or hits a boring spot in the storyline, I'm gone to something else. I may come back to any given show later. Or not.

Gee, there seems to be a niche market for the ADD channel.:grin:

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#11 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 11:39 AM

I guess my question is, "what's a better way to do it?"

Get all Big-Brother-ish and track actual viewing somehow.

We have the question and a hint at the answer here.

Not only do advertisers have to track actual viewers of commercials, they have to know from income and spending pattern information who these viewers are. I'm not going to repeat my related rant on the Broadcast TV's Summer of Fail thread, but ad bucks are being squandered on TV because the Nielsen's are not adequate in the 21st Century - yes, the century of the information age Big-Brother-ish capitalism.

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#12 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 12:05 PM

The answer is obvious and it's right in front of you -- literally.

It's the digital STB, the DVR, and the DTV converter box. Forget about OTA viewers and extract captured viewer/program data from digital STBs. Cable subs would be better than (not then) sat subs because of the potential for real-time, two-way data reporting.

Concerned about viewer attentiveness? A simple RFID chip implanted in subjects' brains will gauge how many are watching, who they are (demographics), whether they are paying attention or not, and even if they've fallen asleep or left the room to take a leak or get a snack.

Perfect for all us tvidiots. I'm ready! :grin:

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#13 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 12:29 PM

A simple RFID chip implanted in subjects' brains ...

The misfiring synapses, convoluted signals and multiple personalities would play hell with that.
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#14 OFFLINE   mreposter

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 12:42 PM

I guess my question is, "what's a better way to do it?"


There's the rub - TV is inherently a passive activity. How do you get people to actively report their viewing habits when all they want to do is sit on the couch and vegetate?
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#15 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 12:50 PM

How about set top boxes with built-in facial recognition technology like the BritCops are using? The STB would log the program being viewed and whether it was live or recorded. The facial scanner would log who was in the room and if they were looking at the screen or not.
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#16 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 03:39 PM

The answer is obvious and it's right in front of you -- literally.

It's the digital STB, the DVR, and the DTV converter box. Forget about OTA viewers and extract captured viewer/program data from digital STBs. Cable subs would be better than (not then) sat subs because of the potential for real-time, two-way data reporting.

Concerned about viewer attentiveness? A simple RFID chip implanted in subjects' brains will gauge how many are watching, who they are (demographics), whether they are paying attention or not, and even if they've fallen asleep or left the room to take a leak or get a snack.

Perfect for all us tvidiots. I'm ready! :grin:

And think how easy it would be to tie it to our income and spending habits. Solves that problem. No on to global warming....:D

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#17 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 03:48 PM

The STB is the way to go .. It's the age/gender breakdowns that will get tougher.
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#18 OFFLINE   mreposter

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 05:31 PM

How about set top boxes with built-in facial recognition technology like the BritCops are using? The STB would log the program being viewed and whether it was live or recorded. The facial scanner would log who was in the room and if they were looking at the screen or not.


And how many people will volunteer to have a camera in their living room, bedroom, etc?
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#19 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 05:44 PM

And how many people will volunteer to have a camera in their living room, bedroom, etc?

It'd just be part of your set top box. I'd move mine into a closet. :sure:

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#20 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 09:27 PM

It'd just be part of your set top box. I'd move mine into a closet. :sure:


Where mine is now thanks to the UHF remote.
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