Monday, July 23, 2007

Jericho, Nielsen, and You- Part II

Nielsen Media Research has the ability to connect their meters to the vast majority of home entertainment products currently on the market, including 10,000 television sets, 7,000 VCRs and dual decks, 100 set top boxes, and peripherals such as gaming systems. In a household, they connect to every television set that receives at least one channel and has a screen size of more than five inches. ( Yes, 10,000 homes determine the ratings for us all.)

After the equipment is installed in the home, Nielsen representatives teach household members how to use the meters. For the duration of the agreement, a family's rep will follow up with the household on a regular basis to encourage continued participation and ensure that the equipment is being used correctly and is functioning properly.

Nielsen uses two types of meters:
1. Set meters capture what channel is being viewed.
Set Meter samples
Large to mid-sized local markets (such as Seattle, San Antonio and Memphis) are measured by a meter that gives information about set-tuning only. In these markets, demographic information is provided by a separate sample of people who fill out seven-day paper diaries (or eight-day diaries in homes with DVRs).

2, People Meters add information about who is watching.
The People Meter is a “box” — about the size of a paperback book — that's hooked up to each television set and has a remote control unit. Each family member in a sample household is assigned a personal viewing button, which is matched to their age and sex. Whenever the TV is turned on, a light flashes on the meter reminding viewers to press their assigned button and to indicate that they're watching television. Additional buttons on the People Meter enable guests who are also watching to participate in the sample by entering their age, sex and viewing status into the system.

Diaries are used to collect viewing information from sample homes in almost every television market in the United States. Every year Nielsen processes approximately 2 million paper diaries from households across the country for the months of November, February, May and July — also known as the “sweeps” rating periods. This information provides a basis for program scheduling and advertising decisions for local television stations, cable systems, and advertisers. In some of the larger markets, diaries provide viewer information for up to three additional “sweeps” months (October, January and March).
Over the course of a sweeps month, diaries are mailed to a new panel of homes each week. At the end of the month, all of the viewing data from the individual weeks is aggregated.

Smaller markets ( Honolulu, Hawaii; Tallahassee-Thomasville, Fla., and Fargo-Valley City, N.D.) are measured by paper diaries only. These seven-day diaries (or eight-day diaries in homes with DVRs) are mailed to homes to keep a tally of what is watched on each television set and by whom.

* Note:
Sun. in this article by Susan Young she says, "While fans have been able to influence network programming decisions in the past, the cancellation and resurrection of "Jericho" points to a flaw in the network rating system that has angered viewers for decades: The Nielsen ratings system.
CBS's Chief Research Officer David Poltrack says there are flaws in the system, especially when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy show tracking.
"The system depends on people who agree to cooperate with Nielsen," Poltrack says. "So people who are into sci-fi and fantasy may not be the kind of people who want to be a Nielsen family."
These days, network executives are taking notice of viewer campaigns and Internet interest more than ever when deciding the fate of their shows."

I'm glad Susan noticed and I know CBS knows. I hope this is a sign that they are working on a solution. It needs to come soon.

Stay Tuned....


Ghosty said...

I always wanted to be one of those Neilsen people ... especially since I greatly enjoy sci-fi and fantasy. Alas, I don't watch television. :P

Just wandered in here from Facebook, stopped by to say hello! :)

Jericho Saved said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I don't watch much TV either anymore and I'm still mad about them taking Witchblade off.