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(Slate)   Nielsen, no longer able to get meaningful ratings from television due to the proliferation of DVRs, decide to get their ratings from Twitter. Prepare for #Hashtagocalypse   (slate.com) divider line 72
    More: Sad, DVRs, Nielsen, Nielson, Twitter, nuclear proliferation, metric  
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1524 clicks; posted to Geek » on 19 Dec 2012 at 1:15 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-18 11:50:01 PM  
How long before they start monitoring Fark entertainment threads?
 
2012-12-19 12:24:20 AM  
Funny to watch obsolete industries flail about in their death throws.
 
2012-12-19 01:22:13 AM  
I sense Anonymous will make My Little Pony the highest rated show among the coveted 18-49 male demographic. Await a far more magical breed of Old Spice commercials, men of Fark
 
2012-12-19 01:28:25 AM  
When I was a kid we were selected to be a Nielsen family. Back then you had to fill in a paper journal of what you watched and mail it to them. We did it for a while then decided it was too much effort. About 7 years ago I was selected again, but this time I was disqualified because I was watching with a MythTV DVR. The technician said that they were working on ways to deal with DVRs (e.g. by fingerprinting the audio stream during playback) but the technology wasn't ready for general deployment yet.
 
2012-12-19 01:42:17 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: Funny to watch obsolete industries flail about in their death throws.

 
*twitch*
 
2012-12-19 01:42:34 AM  
#twoandahalfmensucksballsacks
#takethatshaitofftheair
#itstheworstshowinthehistoryoftv

Are those hash tags to long?
 
2012-12-19 01:46:38 AM  

Ed Willy: I sense Anonymous will make My Little Pony the highest rated show among the coveted 18-49 male demographic. Await a far more magical breed of Old Spice commercials, men of Fark


Yeah, this sounds like the the sort of plan that's guaranteed to fail in the most hilarious way possible. Though it'll all be worth it if we can get Terry Crews to dictate a letter to Princess Celestia.
 
2012-12-19 01:49:40 AM  

fusillade762: How long before they start monitoring Fark entertainment threads?


If that happens, TV will consist of nothing but Breaking Bad, GoT, The Walking Dead, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer and Bob's Burgers

And Firefly, Pushing Daisies and Better off Ted will be brought back from the dead.


Ya know, I'm ok with this.
 
2012-12-19 02:06:03 AM  
img689.imageshack.us

/I never look at Twitter
//It only tells me which famous person just died
///fifty times
////After I already heard about it everywhere else
 
2012-12-19 02:07:46 AM  

Ivo Shandor: The technician said that they were working on ways to deal with DVRs (e.g. by fingerprinting the audio stream during playback) but the technology wasn't ready for general deployment yet.


If they were smart enough to get in on the ground floor it seems a hell of a lot easier than that.
 
2012-12-19 02:18:32 AM  

moothemagiccow: Ivo Shandor: The technician said that they were working on ways to deal with DVRs (e.g. by fingerprinting the audio stream during playback) but the technology wasn't ready for general deployment yet.

If they were smart enough to get in on the ground floor it seems a hell of a lot easier than that.



Huh? I don't get your point. They should've been smart enough to have better tech before it was ready?
 
2012-12-19 02:25:54 AM  

Snapper Carr: fusillade762: How long before they start monitoring Fark entertainment threads?

If that happens, TV will consist of nothing but Breaking Bad, GoT, The Walking Dead, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer and Bob's Burgers

And Firefly, Pushing Daisies and Better off Ted will be brought back from the dead.


Ya know, I'm ok with this.



Seconded.  Heartily.
 
2012-12-19 02:39:21 AM  

Ed Willy: I sense Anonymous will make My Little Pony the highest rated show among the coveted 18-49 male demographic. Await a far more magical breed of Old Spice commercials, men of Fark


Oh god, the amount of Firefly hashtags that are going to spring up alone...

/I will happily just fill in a form that says what I watch if it helps the shows I watch
//apparently actually watching them does nothing
 
2012-12-19 02:58:49 AM  
Great.

More stupid hastags added to graphics packages.

..should not complain, clean torrenting spoiled
 
2012-12-19 03:02:08 AM  
Wayne 985: Huh? I don't get your point. They should've been smart enough to have better tech before it was ready?

TiVo (probably the oldest commercial DVR in existence) has had the ability to aggregate viewership for an eternity. Advertisers should have started incorporating TiVo data a long time ago.

The problem is, TiVo data is skewed, IE, people with TiVos tend to be people that have the disposable income to spend on a DVR vs just getting the one that the cable company delivers (which is good, because advertisers want people with dough, right?) Buuuut, TiVo owners also tend tend to be the type of people who HATE commercials.
 
2012-12-19 03:15:25 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: Funny to watch obsolete industries flail about in their death throws.

lh3.googleusercontent.com

_

_

_

lh5.googleusercontent.com


/#2
 
2012-12-19 03:16:32 AM  
Television makes you STUPID

/it's the original WMD
//D being DISTRACTION
 
2012-12-19 04:22:34 AM  

fusillade762: AverageAmericanGuy: Funny to watch obsolete industries flail about in their death throws.
 
*twitch*


Literacy is in its death throes.

lolwut 2 due?
 
2012-12-19 05:23:21 AM  
"Well I don't care. What could possibly go wrong?"

Six months from now.

"What the hell is a Bieber and why is he in every new show!?"

/Altho I doubt anyone actually uses ratings, or even logic, when choosing programming.
/Network executives cancelled Swat Cats to make more Captain planet.
/This is a fact.
 
2012-12-19 07:04:50 AM  
I assumed they'd made deals to buy DVR data from the cable/satellite/IPTV companies years ago.
 
2012-12-19 07:18:51 AM  

way south: /Network executives cancelled Swat Cats to make more Captain planet.


"Captain Planet" was "educational", and if memory serves there's an FCC guideline about what quantity of broadcast children's programming has to be "educational".

Also: Nielsen, a company that uses a sampling method they won't disclose to collect data they won't disclose that is analyzed using statistical processes they won't disclose to generate "ratings". That sounds totally legit.
 
2012-12-19 07:24:10 AM  
And Dexter and Walking dead are the most watched shows ever.

But CBS shows, daytime soap operas get .0001 percental of the viewing public.

/And only landlines should be oulled in presidental elections.
 
2012-12-19 07:30:25 AM  
If I were a major corporation like Wal-Mart, I'd use this as evidence that Nielsen has no clue how many people are watching TV shows and demand lower advertising rates from the networks.
 
2012-12-19 07:30:48 AM  
I have a friend who works for Nielsen here in Holiday, Florida. When I first saw their building I was blown away...IT'S HUGE. She works in the department that tracks "product placement" in TV shows, testing to see if people retain the fact that they saw a Gap Store in the latest episode of whatever - and basically just watching commercials, sports and TV for 8 hours a day and "logging" certain points in the program (i.e. a Pepsi can appears at 3:48, etc)
 
Just listening to her describe her work is enough to make me want to kill myself. But she digs it. Nielsen is WAY more than just "viewership ratings" these days. Every aspect of television is "monetized". It is insane. She had no real answers on tracking DVR viewing (my biggest question), they have a whole department that works in that area. 
 
Lots of products are simply inserting themselves INTO the shows these days. It's a better option I guess. I haven't watched live TV in years, everything is DVR'd because I hate commercials like a disease.
 
2012-12-19 08:06:18 AM  

Optimus Primate: I have a friend who works for Nielsen here in Holiday, Florida. When I first saw their building I was blown away...IT'S HUGE. She works in the department that tracks "product placement" in TV shows, testing to see if people retain the fact that they saw a Gap Store in the latest episode of whatever - and basically just watching commercials, sports and TV for 8 hours a day and "logging" certain points in the program (i.e. a Pepsi can appears at 3:48, etc)
 
Just listening to her describe her work is enough to make me want to kill myself. But she digs it. Nielsen is WAY more than just "viewership ratings" these days. Every aspect of television is "monetized". It is insane. She had no real answers on tracking DVR viewing (my biggest question), they have a whole department that works in that area. 
 
Lots of products are simply inserting themselves INTO the shows these days. It's a better option I guess. I haven't watched live TV in years, everything is DVR'd because I hate commercials like a disease.


I knew some one who started a company to monitor dvr ratings

Nielson bought him out and directed him to destroy all his product and research
 
2012-12-19 08:08:32 AM  
So: How soon till Anonymous uses twitter to make My Little Pony Friendship is Magic the #1 rated show in America
 
2012-12-19 08:08:46 AM  

karasoth: Nielson bought him out and directed him to destroy all his product and research


Accurate data from realistic sample populations would pretty much destroy Nielsen's business model. You have to understand, that if it's just a matter of collecting data and applying straightforward statistical analysis to it- anybody could do that. Nielsen adds a layer of voodoo to the process that means that they're the only ones that can do what they do, and there's no way to compare their results to reality.
 
2012-12-19 08:22:01 AM  

t3knomanser: Accurate data from realistic sample populations would pretty much destroy Nielsen's business model. You have to understand, that if it's just a matter of collecting data and applying straightforward statistical analysis to it- anybody could do that. Nielsen adds a layer of voodoo to the process that means that they're the only ones that can do what they do, and there's no way to compare their results to reality.


And the way he explained it to me: his system once he worked the bugs out could be put into all dvrs rolled out by the cable companies
 
2012-12-19 08:29:46 AM  

t3knomanser: karasoth: Nielson bought him out and directed him to destroy all his product and research

Accurate data from realistic sample populations would pretty much destroy Nielsen's business model. You have to understand, that if it's just a matter of collecting data and applying straightforward statistical analysis to it- anybody could do that. Nielsen adds a layer of voodoo to the process that means that they're the only ones that can do what they do, and there's no way to compare their results to reality.


 
Nielsen is a HUGE company that wants absolutely nobody to know they exist. Even their compound here in Florida is hidden off the main roads. You would never know it was even there unless you specifically went down the road that leads to it. All the signage is also very subtle and discreet. The internal departments are all very high security, and nobody from one area is allowed to speak to others about the specifics of what they do.
 
2012-12-19 08:41:54 AM  

t3knomanser: karasoth: Nielson bought him out and directed him to destroy all his product and research

Accurate data from realistic sample populations would pretty much destroy Nielsen's business model. You have to understand, that if it's just a matter of collecting data and applying straightforward statistical analysis to it- anybody could do that. Nielsen adds a layer of voodoo to the process that means that they're the only ones that can do what they do, and there's no way to compare their results to reality.


I've always been under the impression that Neilson "unskews" their data by looking at the demographics of the people they monitor and adjusting things to what they see as realistic.
 
2012-12-19 08:54:07 AM  

ampoliros: impression that Neilson "unskews" their data


And that's exactly it- they "unskew" using their own internal system which is highly confidential. This protects their intellectual property, sure, but it also means that we have no idea if their models are any good.
 
2012-12-19 09:00:13 AM  

ampoliros: I've always been under the impression that Neilson "unskews" their data by looking at the demographics of the people they monitor and adjusting things to what they see as realistic.


There's something to be said for understanding what data means and thus applying the proper algorithms to extract truth from fact.  Fact by itself doesn't mean anything.  However, transparent methodology is an absolute requirement, or you could use the viewer ratings of Honey Boo Boo to prove JFK is still alive.
 
The fortunate thing for Nielsen is that their clientele -- TV executives -- are mind-blowingly stupid.  I mean, if you boil down their sales pitch it's basically, "I sell information but I can't tell you where it's from or how I got it -- you just have to pay me billions and trust I'm right."  I think astrology has Nielsen ratings beat in terms of appeal, as at least their voodoo is attributed to the supernatural.
 
2012-12-19 09:01:01 AM  

t3knomanser: karasoth: Nielson bought him out and directed him to destroy all his product and research

Accurate data from realistic sample populations would pretty much destroy Nielsen's business model. You have to understand, that if it's just a matter of collecting data and applying straightforward statistical analysis to it- anybody could do that. Nielsen adds a layer of voodoo to the process that means that they're the only ones that can do what they do, and there's no way to compare their results to reality.


I don't doubt at all that Nielsen wants to squash any competitors, but the most important thing that Nielsen does goes beyond collecting data and analyzing it. They create a representative sample of America and manage to get some pretty intrusive technology into those people's homes. The initial financial outlay is pretty substantial.

By contrast, just sampling all DVRs would be cheap, but it would just introduce noise into the equation because the sample is neither random nor representative. It would be far less accurate than Nielsen's data while presenting an air of superiority since some people who don't know statistics think that representative sampling of a population is less accurate than getting all the data from an entirely different population that is not representative of the greater US population.

t3knomanser: Also: Nielsen, a company that uses a sampling method they won't disclose to collect data they won't disclose that is analyzed using statistical processes they won't disclose to generate "ratings". That sounds totally legit.


Just because you don't know how they collect their data doesn't mean that the people who pay for it (networks and advertisers) don't. Everybody involved in the business of television has agreed that Nielsen's ratings are the best metric for measuring viewership. Shouldn't that be all that matters?

And this whole Twitter thing is just a PR move by Nielsen and the networks. New ratings will only matter for the survival of TV shows if the advertisers are willing to pay ad rates based on those ratings, which they're not. It will, however, allow the networks to give their low-rated shows some promotional boost based on their Twitter trends. I doubt that NCIS trends much on Twitter, but New Girl and Gossip Girl probably do.
 
2012-12-19 09:04:30 AM  
i.imgur.com

Pay no attention to the carnage that is network TV, my rating system is still functioning perfectly fine.
 
2012-12-19 09:11:18 AM  

rugman11: Everybody involved in the business of television has agreed that Nielsen's ratings are the best metric for measuring viewership. Shouldn't that be all that matters?


Whatever makes them happy, I guess.  Anyone who works in science, engineering, IT or any other infrastructure that needs reliable information to function wouldn't touch a confidential methodology with a sanitized ten-foot pole, but marketing has its own definitions of "best".
 
2012-12-19 09:24:24 AM  

rugman11: Just because you don't know how they collect their data doesn't mean that the people who pay for it (networks and advertisers) don't.


There was an article, I believe in The Atlantic, maybe the New Yorker, that claimed exactly that. Were I not elbow deep in parser generators this morning, I'd do some googling. Long story short: their methods are trade secrets. My company makes paint, and while we disclose certain pieces of information about our paints to our customers, we emphatically do not tell them how the paint is actually made. It's the same logic.

rugman11: Shouldn't that be all that matters?


Hardly. Look at the popularity of the rule "Passwords should be changed every n days." Pretty much every corporation implements a policy like that, and you know what? There is absolutely no evidence that it provides any improvements to security, and plenty of evidence that it makes people use weaker passwords and write them down more frequently. Just because something is an industry standard doesn't mean it's good- it means it's an industry standard.
 
2012-12-19 09:27:24 AM  
It's just been announced today that Nielsen has now purchased Arbitron, the radio ratings company. It's like a pit of media puke.
 
2012-12-19 09:34:19 AM  

REO-Weedwagon: It's just been announced today that Nielsen has now purchased Arbitron, the radio ratings company. It's like a pit of media puke.


Wow. That's some serious antitrust shiat right there.
 
2012-12-19 09:50:51 AM  

way south: /Network executives cancelled Swat Cats to make more Captain planet.


wow, I had no idea Captain Planet was produced well into the 90s. I think i stopped watching around 1992 or so.
 
2012-12-19 10:07:43 AM  
Nielsen is a holding company. They do not invest in any new technology, they buy it from somewhere else and try to cram into their business model. The CEO Mitchell Habib was brought in to pump up the financials so they can sell it to the next poor sucker.

If AT&T wants to say they have 99% customer satisfaction, that's what Nielsen gives them.

/wife works in Oldsmar bunker
 
2012-12-19 10:16:27 AM  

t3knomanser: My company makes paint, and while we disclose certain pieces of information about our paints to our customers, we emphatically do not tell them how the paint is actually made. It's the same logic.


It's pretty uncharacteristic of you to make this sort of misstep.  It is most certainly NOT the same logic.  While a company that sells a product is not obligated to disclose its processes, third parties can establish the reliability of the product independently.  For example, they can spread the paint over a surface and stick it in an oven for 1000 hours or something, see if it peels.  Or maybe have some lab rats inhale the fumes as it dries to see if it's toxic.  There's a whole cottage industry of critics, inspectors and underwriters who basically sell information but are paid by those who make the product, not those consume the info.  However, those companies have to disclose their standards, at least in my experience.  Crapstains like UL make you pay for their revisions, but no one can say the info is inaccessible.  They can't just say one product rocks and another sucks without providing details or the first question out of everyone will be about conflict of interest.  Which is more or less how everyone knows UL to be a piece of shiat in the first place, but at least engineers know what's what.
 
Nielsen sells "information" and is furthermore a de facto monopoly as their whole business is about providing "information" that can't be duplicated by anyone else, and therefore can't be independently tested for reliability.  If it wasn't for the fact that their clients are marketers (read:  morons), this is exactly how NOT to establish a favorable business reputation.
 
2012-12-19 10:18:19 AM  
Eh, Nielson family here. We have equipment installed inside our DirecTV DVR, that is hooked to their monitoring equipment. So..............blows that article to smithereens.
 
2012-12-19 10:19:29 AM  
Ah, Nielsen Media. You are so out-of-touch it isn't even funny.

Listen here, guys. You know those scary-sounding things called Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix? Well, their users have these things called accounts. And these accounts are tied to these even scarier-sounding magical things called databases. In these databases are detailed records of what people watch and when they watch it. If you expel the Luddites who are making decisions for you, you might come up with an amazing idea. Like working with the online media companies, and allowing their users to optionally send viewing statistics to you. That way you can see how many households watch a show during the 7-day period after its release, which is a far more relevant number today than who watched its live broadcast.

But that isn't going to happen, because you're firmly in the pocket of an even more regressive industry. But you do have that industry's ear, so Nielsen, would you kindly pass along these two comments for me?

1) Let them know that the "flashbacks" fad is making shows unwatchable. It was done with a purpose in Once Upon A Time, but now half the dramas on TV think that gave them license to follow suit. If a show depends on flashbacks, it started its story in the wrong place. Period. It's that simple. Take the current season of Supernatural for example. If the morons who took over from Kripke wanted to tell the story of what happened while Dean was in Purgatory, they should have started the season with Dean in Purgatory. Not tell 2-4 non-synchronous stories during every episode. Kripke's new show Revolution is another example. If the lives of the characters before the Change was so critical, the pilot should have been set before the Change. These flashbacks (which could last 3-5 seconds, but are lasting 3-5 minutes each) are contributing nothing to character development, and they're killing the story's momentum.

2) Please tell them that successful shows are made from characters, not the other way around. If a series has poor ratings but secondary characters have major fanbases, the show can easily be saved by downgrading the bad characters and promoting the good ones. Terra Nova was a perfect example of this... viewers wanted to see more about the colony's commander, his son, and the sixers - and instead they gave us Dawson's Creek with dinosaurs. Breaking In was another case study. The first season worked because it was a funny caper show with amusing characters centered around Christian Slater. So in the second season, they threw out all the capers, brought in a new primary character, and made every single episode focus around her. And they scratched their heads as to why it didn't work, because they personally loved their new character so much.

Thanks, Nielsen. I appreciate it.
 
2012-12-19 10:28:26 AM  

clkeagle: you do have that industry's ear, so Nielsen, would you kindly pass along these two comments for me?


Someone who accuses Nielsen of being out of touch, thinks Nielsen is in the interest of collecting and accurately reporting feedback.
 
Is there a punchline I missed somewhere?
 
2012-12-19 10:59:34 AM  

t3knomanser: rugman11: Just because you don't know how they collect their data doesn't mean that the people who pay for it (networks and advertisers) don't.

There was an article, I believe in The Atlantic, maybe the New Yorker, that claimed exactly that. Were I not elbow deep in parser generators this morning, I'd do some googling. Long story short: their methods are trade secrets. My company makes paint, and while we disclose certain pieces of information about our paints to our customers, we emphatically do not tell them how the paint is actually made. It's the same logic.


What about their process is a secret? We know how they collect their data, we've seen their boxes. We know that they take a representative sample of US households. Aside from giving customers the names and phone numbers of Nielsen households to verify their existence and attributes, what more information could they give? All Nielsen does is collect data and report it. We know how they get their data and from whom, what is there left to hide?
 
2012-12-19 11:04:24 AM  

FeedTheCollapse: way south: /Network executives cancelled Swat Cats to make more Captain planet.

wow, I had no idea Captain Planet was produced well into the 90s. I think i stopped watching around 1992 or so.


i.qkme.me
 
2012-12-19 11:20:27 AM  

dragonchild: Nielsen sells "information" and is furthermore a de facto monopoly as their whole business is about providing "information" that can't be duplicated by anyone else, and therefore can't be independently tested for reliability.  If it wasn't for the fact that their clients are marketers (read:  morons), this is exactly how NOT to establish a favorable business reputation.


That's exactly the point I was trying to make. I worded it poorly, so thanks.

rugman11: We know how they collect their data, we've seen their boxes.


And what sampling method determines who gets a box?

rugman11: All Nielsen does is collect data and report it


No, all Nielsen does is collect data and then report on their results using statistical models they don't reveal. They do not give anyone the raw data that they collect. They do not tell anyone how they processed that raw data before giving it to them.

It's the old saw- lies, damn lies and statistics.
 
2012-12-19 11:21:54 AM  

clkeagle: Ah, Nielsen Media. You are so out-of-touch it isn't even funny.

Listen here, guys. You know those scary-sounding things called Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix? Well, their users have these things called accounts. And these accounts are tied to these even scarier-sounding magical things called databases. In these databases are detailed records of what people watch and when they watch it. If you expel the Luddites who are making decisions for you, you might come up with an amazing idea. Like working with the online media companies, and allowing their users to optionally send viewing statistics to you. That way you can see how many households watch a show during the 7-day period after its release, which is a far more relevant number today than who watched its live broadcast.


You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what purpose the Nielsen ratings serve. The Nielsen ratings aren't designed to measure a show's popularity. We use them, certainly, to do that, but the fundamental purpose of Nielsen ratings is to measure the number of people who are watching the commercials during a particular episode of television. Why? Because that's how the shows get paid for. Three of the four services you mentioned are not ad-supported and don't provide the networks any revenue. It doesn't matter if 10 million people watch a show on Netflix if nobody watches it on television unless the production company decides the money it's getting from Netflix is worth giving the show away to the network.

Television advertising is a $200 billion per year industry. Netflix and Hulu combine for less than one percent of that number. Until those numbers get significantly closer, networks, advertisers, and production companies are going to air shows that people watch on television, not online.
 
2012-12-19 12:08:39 PM  

Wayne 985: moothemagiccow: Ivo Shandor: The technician said that they were working on ways to deal with DVRs (e.g. by fingerprinting the audio stream during playback) but the technology wasn't ready for general deployment yet.

If they were smart enough to get in on the ground floor it seems a hell of a lot easier than that.


Huh? I don't get your point. They should've been smart enough to have better tech before it was ready?


DVRs already know what you're watching. You tell them.
 
2012-12-19 12:23:48 PM  
With the level of technology that goes in a modern cable box/satellite receiver, I'm sort of surprised that "they" can't tell precisely who's watching what. I've got the Hopper and it seems to be a fairly powerful Linux box that is connected to the Internet. They really can't get stats out of it? I can control my DVR from my iPad in a different time zone, but they can't tell what I'm watching?
 
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