Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Monster Nielsen Interview: Steve Ciabattoni

Steve Ciabattoni is Sr. Content Mgr. for Hey Nielsen. He's the person who writes the blog and answers emails so quickly. I'm sure he does much more than that but I'm not privy to his job description.

I continue to see questions about Hey!Nielsen so I asked Steve if he could answer them and he graciously agreed.

1.What makes Hey! Nielsen different from online polls?

We want to know more from members than Yes/No or Like/Dislike. That's why we also include the ability to comment (by video or text), link up with other members, agree/disagree with opinions, and then reflect all that in a score that captures the sentiment of the community. Also, as a hub of information for the media industry, Nielsen provides a unique platform and access to its members, many of whom feel their voices aren’t being heard.

2. Are Hey! Nielsen stats reported to the networks?

Hey! Nielsen is still in Beta, and examining the data. Right now we're concentrating on making the site meaningful for the user. When that happens, we think executives in the entertainment industry -- not just television -- will be interested in the data.

3. Was Hey! Nielsen developed to placate critics of Nielsen ratings?

The site was designed for a number of reasons. We receive so many requests to be a Nielsen TV family and we want to have a way for people to give us input. Our TV panel is chosen using strict statistical sampling techniques, which prevents us from simply saying “yes” to everyone. Hey! Nielsen is a way for us to at least welcome people interested in the process to be a part of the conversation. Also, it’s a way for us to look at all media (TV, Movies, Music, etc.) together in an interesting way.

4. Does Rank really matter? Aren't all points of view important?

The Rankings and the Hey! Nielsen Score are really just a fun index for the users. And of course, all points of view are valuable.

5. What do you think is the most misunderstood part of Hey!Nielsen?

That a high Ranking will get your favorite show back on the air. We are interested in capturing the buzz and the power of community here, but we could never promise that use of Hey! Nielsen = success for a show. If that were the case, I’d have my own show!

6. How do you manage to answer emails so quickly?

We learn a lot from reading the emails from happy members and the angry ones. Answering them quickly helps spread info about the site, and helps keep misinformation about the site to a minimum. We believe that people don’t want to “feel” like they are being heard... they actually want proof that they “are” being heard. As the site grows, it will become harder and harder to answer everyone right away, (or directly) but we know that we can answer their questions either in our blog or in a newsletter or even by messaging out to specific members, entertainment blogs, or fan sites. The back and forth with the members of the site is actually one of the most fun aspects of the job for us. No matter what business you're in, if you have poor communication with your customers, you'll fail.

7. Are there any new features coming soon?

We’ll be adding a tab on the site for Video Games. As you can see by our five existing categories, we already know that people don’t just watch TV. They watch TV and listen to music and surf the web, and play games online (sometimes at the same time!). So that’s interesting to us. We’re curious... do the people that are fans of one particular show share the same passions for games or music or websites? We’ll also be having more contests for the different genres of entertainment, and we’ll be highlighting a few members in our blog. We are also working on having some quick polls and surveys on the site, as well as some invite-only features for certain members. Also, we’ll be adding levels for members as well and some tweaks to the profile pages that will help members keep track of their conversations better.

8. Can we expect the Entertainment Calendar soon?

We're working on it, but it looks like the site's users might find other features more exciting or necessary, so we are working on those as a greater priority.

9. Is there anything you'd like to say to entertainment fans?

Well, who isn’t a fan of entertainment? We can’t thank you enough for showing up and voicing your opinions. We love to see people who come to the site to cheer for their favorite show, but then actually spend some time chiming in on their favorite movies, or band… that’s what will really keep the site interesting and complex. As the community grows and the members deepen their entertainment profiles, it will really help Nielsen offer a broader scope of insights to our clients on what’s going on out there. We think that benefits everyone. Our job is really to stay out of the way and let the community bubble up naturally and then analyze the data and refine the site to make it fun for the fans, and valuable for the folks that call the shots. So, the short answer is, thanks. Actually, thanks, and refer the site to a friend.

Steve Ciabattoni
The Nielsen Company


auntvonna said...

Thanks for the information, Steve! I think Hey Nielsen! is a great concept and I understand that it's in it's infancy stages. I think Nielsen in general is really trying to listen and grow with the changing times.

Jane, another great interview and a very informative one! Thanks again for all you do!

Jericho Saved said...

Thanks auntvonna. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. I think Hey Nielsen is great too. It'll get better and better.

kestral said...

"No matter what business you're in, if you have poor communication with your customers, you'll fail." This comment struck me as very relevant to the problems the Jericho community is having with CBS right now. There is NO communication from CBS to the fans of Jericho. I think it's sad that so many other people in the online community can see how CBS' secretive way of handling things is hurting the efforts of the fans to promote Jericho. If so many other people can see it, why can't CBS?

Thanks Jane for another terrific interview!

LisiBee said...

Thanks Jane for another great interview. Steve C. from Hey!Nielsen has to be my favorite tech guy of all time. :D Not only does he answer my (sometimes quite dumb) questions, but he does them promptly and cheerfully. If only all companies treated company/customer relationships the same way. Steve, I am looking forward to seeing H!N continue to develop and grow, and thanks for stopping by the Jericho Monster!

maybei said...

I love Hey Nielsen! Finally there is a place where I can vote and comment - and feel like my voice is being heard!!

Thanks - great interview!!