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(LA Times)   Nielsen TV ratings measure the viewing habits of people eighteen to forty-nine. The demographic least likely to watch TV   (latimes.com) divider line 48
    More: Interesting, Viewing, lowest common denominator, Kathy Bates, Family-friendliness, demographics, habits, median age, Willie Sutton  
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2734 clicks; posted to Main » on 25 Oct 2013 at 9:57 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



48 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-10-25 09:13:16 AM  
Interesting analysis. I noticed the sexualization of TV 20-25 years ago but didn't connect it to changes in rating methodology.

But when Nielsen introduced "people meters" in 1987, that all changed.

Reminds me of a story I read about how music ratings changed in the 1990s. They started including sales through Walmart and had to face the fact that country music was popular.
 
2013-10-25 09:36:46 AM  
Looks like the top show is, once again, "Whatever was on while I was playing Candy Crush Saga"
 
2013-10-25 09:58:41 AM  
Because TV ratings are not interested in people who watch TV.  They are interested in people who buy things after seeing advertisements on TV.
 
2013-10-25 09:59:14 AM  
If Neilsen ever revealed their methodology, they'd be out of business.

Not because everyone would know how to implement the same methodology, but because everyone would realize it was a fraud.
 
2013-10-25 10:03:17 AM  
I think I can sum-up this article pretty much with this....

talesfromthedarkroastside.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-10-25 10:06:14 AM  

abfalter: Because TV ratings are not interested in people who watch TV.  They are interested in people who buy things after seeing advertisements on TV.


Yep. I'm not sure if the buying power and habits of the +50 group make focusing on them worthwhile. 10 teenagers who see your commercial are worth 1000 grandmothers since grandma isn't going to go out and buy your product.
 
2013-10-25 10:08:48 AM  

To The Escape Zeppelin!: abfalter: Because TV ratings are not interested in people who watch TV.  They are interested in people who buy things after seeing advertisements on TV.

Yep. I'm not sure if the buying power and habits of the +50 group make focusing on them worthwhile. 10 teenagers who see your commercial are worth 1000 grandmothers since grandma isn't going to go out and buy your product.


Depends on the product.
 
2013-10-25 10:09:57 AM  
I was one of those Neilsen television people for about 1 year. They took into account when the television was on in the house and who was home at the time. They then looked at purchases made during the same time period. In my house, all three of those things are completely independent of each other.
 
2013-10-25 10:11:18 AM  
Television is "sticky." People who grew up with it still watch it. This includes the huge cohort of Baby Boomers who are now between 49 and 67 years old. Neilsen knows that Millennials have shorter attention spans and therefore don't have the same TV viewing habits of previous generations. So in order to maintain their relevancy, Neilsen *must* expand its ratings coverage and admit that those older consumers still matter to advertisers who pay Neilsen for information.
 
2013-10-25 10:12:06 AM  

AUAIOMRN: To The Escape Zeppelin!: abfalter: Because TV ratings are not interested in people who watch TV.  They are interested in people who buy things after seeing advertisements on TV.

Yep. I'm not sure if the buying power and habits of the +50 group make focusing on them worthwhile. 10 teenagers who see your commercial are worth 1000 grandmothers since grandma isn't going to go out and buy your product.

Depends on the product.


Like this?


3.bp.blogspot.com

/going to Disney next week....
 
2013-10-25 10:12:35 AM  

abfalter: Because TV ratings are not interested in people who watch TV.  They are interested in people who buy things after seeing advertisements on TV.


And almost every TV producer knows this and is after the same audience.  It's why even supposedly "smart" channels like History and Sci-Fi show nothing but "Swamp Loggers" and other empty crap.  It's all designed to attract the attention of people with no impulse control who are actually influenced by commercials.  The more intelligent you are, the less network TV wants to do with you.
 
2013-10-25 10:13:38 AM  

Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: abfalter: Because TV ratings are not interested in people who watch TV.  They are interested in people who buy things after seeing advertisements on TV.

And almost every TV producer knows this and is after the same audience.  It's why even supposedly "smart" channels like History and Sci-Fi show nothing but "Swamp Loggers" and other empty crap.  It's all designed to attract the attention of people with no impulse control who are actually influenced by commercials.  The more intelligent you are, the less network TV wants to do with you.


That is an excellent point.
 
2013-10-25 10:13:39 AM  
Or how about we burn the advertisers to the ground.  If they're going to get our money anyways, why don't we just buy the content we want?
 
2013-10-25 10:21:03 AM  
AUAIOMRN:

Depends on the product.

ISWUDT
 
2013-10-25 10:23:47 AM  
Baby boomers don't buy shiat enough to make their viewing numbers important?  Come the fark on.  That's how we got into this financial mess in the first place.
 
2013-10-25 10:25:11 AM  
Oh, good. Maybe they can cancel "Two broke bad actresses with terrible writers" and "Two and a half terrible writers" and put something on where the jokes aren't entirely predictable.

I think that prat of the cord-cutting is the cost of the cord as well. Internet is as necessary now as the telephone was twenty or thirty years ago, but cable TV is an expensive luxury. For an extra $80-$100 a month, which do you think is getting cut first? Especially when one utility can mostly replace the other.

The rest of the problem is that most of the fare for the last few years has been the same joke done by different twentysomething actors, cop dramas, and reality shows. You just get burned out on it, even if some of the shows are witty and entertaining, well, unless you're Mama Boo-Boo.
 
2013-10-25 10:25:58 AM  
Doesn't everyone just record everything and skip the ads anyways?

Good advertisements are for shows with little kids (because those kids will definitely beg their parents for the stuff they see on TV), and sports, because people watching will inevitably sit through the ads.
 
2013-10-25 10:27:28 AM  

TheSelphie: Baby boomers don't buy shiat enough to make their viewing numbers important?  Come the fark on.  That's how we got into this financial mess in the first place.


Exactly. Especially since the rest of us are too broke to buy shiat.
 
2013-10-25 10:36:45 AM  

TheSelphie: Baby boomers don't buy shiat enough to make their viewing numbers important?  Come the fark on.  That's how we got into this financial mess in the first place.


The thinking behind the 18-49 demo is that is the demographic where people start having disposable income until there purchasing decisions are so fixed into habit the the ads have limited impact.  I'm not saying it's right but that's why they don't care as much about the over 50 demographic.
 
2013-10-25 10:40:10 AM  

van1ty: Doesn't everyone just record everything and skip the ads anyways?

Good advertisements are for shows with little kids (because those kids will definitely beg their parents for the stuff they see on TV), and sports, because people watching will inevitably sit through the ads.


Solely because I know my box tracks my usage, if I'm watching something that I really like and want to see continue, I'll let the ads play, and usually go take a shiat or answer an e-mail -- just as we used to walk out of the room when commercials came on, or talk to each other while muting the TV.

I really think they ought to just get to the damned online method (which unfortunately is now changing to be too long) -- if you want to put a 15 second ad up during the break, I'm going to be too damned lazy to bother trying to fast forward through it.  4-8 minutes (seriously, there were _8 minutes_ of commercials in a row in a 28 minute show the other night!), yeah, I'm FFing right through that.
 
2013-10-25 10:41:33 AM  
The answers to all life'sproblems can be found in the movies:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINDtlPXmmE

Thank you, Peter Finch.
 
2013-10-25 10:41:56 AM  

Nefarious: TheSelphie: Baby boomers don't buy shiat enough to make their viewing numbers important?  Come the fark on.  That's how we got into this financial mess in the first place.

The thinking behind the 18-49 demo is that is the demographic where people start having disposable income until there purchasing decisions are so fixed into habit the the ads have limited impact.  I'm not saying it's right but that's why they don't care as much about the over 50 demographic.


Correct.  And having done marketing in the past, I can say for sure that even the people who "think ads don't affect them or their purchases" are influenced by them.  It's not a big percentage, but the practical goal of marketing is not to get everyone to do something, it's to get _some people_ to do something and hopefully beat your expectations.   That or just the ever elusive "branding."
 
2013-10-25 10:42:06 AM  

Kuta: Television is "sticky." People who grew up with it still watch it. This includes the huge cohort of Baby Boomers who are now between 49 and 67 years old. Neilsen knows that Millennials have shorter attention spans and therefore don't have the same TV viewing habits of previous generations. So in order to maintain their relevancy, Neilsen *must* expand its ratings coverage and admit that those older consumers still matter to advertisers who pay Neilsen for information.


Why do people keep saying millenials have short attention spans, when they play things like WOW and GTAV for hours on end?

Also younger people binge watch TV shows on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon VOD. That requires sitting for hours and watching 13-22 episodes in a few days, or a week.
 
2013-10-25 10:42:51 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: If Neilsen ever revealed their methodology, they'd be out of business.

Not because everyone would know how to implement the same methodology, but because everyone would realize it was a fraud.


This.
 
2013-10-25 10:53:36 AM  
I hired a young programmer for an IT project a few years back, who explained to me why he no longer used a conventional television at home.  I had recently graduated from having a land line for my home phone, and yet my mind still went *Ding!*
 
2013-10-25 11:00:03 AM  

verbaltoxin: Kuta: Television is "sticky." People who grew up with it still watch it. This includes the huge cohort of Baby Boomers who are now between 49 and 67 years old. Neilsen knows that Millennials have shorter attention spans and therefore don't have the same TV viewing habits of previous generations. So in order to maintain their relevancy, Neilsen *must* expand its ratings coverage and admit that those older consumers still matter to advertisers who pay Neilsen for information.

Why do people keep saying millenials have short attention spans, when they play things like WOW and GTAV for hours on end?

Also younger people binge watch TV shows on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon VOD. That requires sitting for hours and watching 13-22 episodes in a few days, or a week.


Older people have been saying younger people have no attention span for at least 3,000 years (that I know of).  Probably longer.  It's another one of those, "in my day!"

I find young people have a _longer_ attention span than I do, but it is always focused on a single thing.
 
2013-10-25 11:00:59 AM  

pkellmey: I was one of those Neilsen television people for about 1 year. They took into account when the television was on in the house and who was home at the time. They then looked at purchases made during the same time period. In my house, all three of those things are completely independent of each other.


I did the radio equivalent once when I was in high school.  They had given one of my friends five surveys to hand out to anyone she could convince to do it.  The instructions were very clear that you had to record any radio you heard under any circumstances.  Every day at the same time I rode a bus with two other people doing the survey.  So their data had this huge spike in white girls listening to a Spanish station during the same fifteen minute block each day.  Worst methodology ever.
 
2013-10-25 11:07:09 AM  

AUAIOMRN: To The Escape Zeppelin!: abfalter: Because TV ratings are not interested in people who watch TV.  They are interested in people who buy things after seeing advertisements on TV.

Yep. I'm not sure if the buying power and habits of the +50 group make focusing on them worthwhile. 10 teenagers who see your commercial are worth 1000 grandmothers since grandma isn't going to go out and buy your product.

Depends on the product.


media.tumblr.com
 
2013-10-25 11:12:52 AM  

FitzShivering: van1ty: Doesn't everyone just record everything and skip the ads anyways?

Good advertisements are for shows with little kids (because those kids will definitely beg their parents for the stuff they see on TV), and sports, because people watching will inevitably sit through the ads.

Solely because I know my box tracks my usage, if I'm watching something that I really like and want to see continue, I'll let the ads play, and usually go take a shiat or answer an e-mail -- just as we used to walk out of the room when commercials came on, or talk to each other while muting the TV.

I really think they ought to just get to the damned online method (which unfortunately is now changing to be too long) -- if you want to put a 15 second ad up during the break, I'm going to be too damned lazy to bother trying to fast forward through it.  4-8 minutes (seriously, there were _8 minutes_ of commercials in a row in a 28 minute show the other night!), yeah, I'm FFing right through that.


NBC Sports has managed a good compromise that at least gets us to watch the screen (if not the ad) during the commercial breaks for F1.  They do a PIP, with half the screen devoted to the race (but sound muted) and the other half showing commercials (full sound).  This keeps the eyeballs focused at least somewhat  near the ads, and even if you mute the TV completely, they can potentially capture your attention.  There have been a few times when something in an ad (dunno what it was) got our attention, and we talked briefly about whatever it was, then went back to watching the race.

I'm actually okay with this method, as it prevents missing potentially race-changing moments that might have otherwise occurred during the commercial break.

/all I can tell you about the ads is that Mercedes and Rolex are always well-represented
//two companies who make products I hate (not cars and watches in general, just Merc and Rolex)
 
2013-10-25 11:42:57 AM  
Wasn't the 18-49 bit just a retcon thing from when the first commercial stations joined state-funded broadcasters?
Like, the new stations broke down their initially poor viewing figures, found the age group were they were most successful and then looked for ways to sell advertisers the idea that that group was the most important one, so they could base their ad prices on "8% of the viewers 18-49" instead of "2.5% of all viewers".
 
2013-10-25 12:11:50 PM  
Makes sense to me. I'm in that age group and haven't watched much boob toob in 10 years.
 
2013-10-25 12:14:30 PM  
BTW... Was on business trip last week and had some evening downtime, so turned on the tele. When the fark did cable television become such a festering sewer of boredom. Seemed like the same show, or some variant, on every channel. If this is indicative of the kind of entertainment that Americans demand, then.... Jebus Kristo we are done as a species.
 
2013-10-25 12:18:15 PM  
My wife and I were just commenting on why we don't watch any of the new shows that were on.  Right as she said this, I said, "ok, let's see what's on right now.", and proceeded to flip through the prime time networks.  Not a single comedy.  It was all dramas or reality shows.  You can't keep up with any of them unless you've been watching from the beginning, because once you miss an episode, you're lost.
That explains that much.

One other thing that annoys me is that it seems that many of the new comedies are starting to adopt that whole "first person interview" format.  That REALLY starts to drive me up the wall after a while.

That explains why TV for me consists of the news, Jeopardy, and Big Bang Thoery reruns...  That's about it.
 
2013-10-25 12:18:52 PM  

AverageAmericanGuy: If Neilsen ever revealed their methodology, they'd be out of business.

Not because everyone would know how to implement the same methodology, but because everyone would realize it was a fraud.


This x 3
 
2013-10-25 12:21:05 PM  
I think they called it for me.  Freaking $80 a month to watch two channels (Comedy Central and BBCA).  After spending every single day of my life watching tv, I saw the writing on the wall.  Reality TV was all fake, Syfy, the History Channel and Discovery were dead to me. Network tv.... ugh such bad acting.

So I found that Netflix did just fine.  Then when i got bored, Hulu on the pc.  If that didn't work, I go into my amazon prime account and search.  If that doesn't work, Youtube.  If that doesn't work, I'll see what's going on at Cinemassacre or other funny sites.  If that doesn't work.... This is the part I invested in.

I have been spending the extra $80 per month accumulating a vast library of movies and tv shows on dvd (for pennies on the dollar).  I get up, put a disc in the movie box.  Magic! One day I will have a full movie wall and shall want for nothing.
 
2013-10-25 12:24:17 PM  
Do we not have the technology now for someone to figure out how to put the right ads with the right shows and capitalize on targeting for every demographic?  I could see back when we just had the three broadcast networks and one tv set in the living room that everyone gathered around together that you had to reach the best spending demographic on every program you aired.  But now, we've got lots of channels and we've got people watching separately.  Couldn't a channel tap into reaching a particular market during each show?  No, you're not going to catch my early-thirties self tuning in for Matlock.  So no, your ad for things that are going to excite me isn't going to do any good during "Matlock".  But you can have darn near 100% of the eyes of the people my grandmother's age while" Matlock " is on.  So there's still money to be made by pairing commercials that appeal to grandma during "Matlock".  Instead of making so many bland shows and making all the channels the same batch of cheap stupid stuff to appeal to a lowest-common denominator, why not really tap into the opportunity to produce unique stuff, niche stuff, stuff that REALLY appeals to a smaller segment of the audience.  Figure out who a show appeals to and match the advertisers to it or find who is most likely to be interested in buying an advertiser's product and make a show that appeals to them to put the ad in.
 
2013-10-25 12:35:41 PM  
Isn't 18-49 a kind of wide category?  The shows and advertised products that appeal to an 18 year old are not likely to be nearly as relevant to the interests of a 49 year old.  I'd think that not only would it be hard to design a show that seemed good to that huge age range, but that it would be wasting a lot of advertising time reaching eyes that have very little likelihood of buying the product.
 
2013-10-25 12:52:47 PM  

Nefarious: TheSelphie: Baby boomers don't buy shiat enough to make their viewing numbers important?  Come the fark on.  That's how we got into this financial mess in the first place.

The thinking behind the 18-49 demo is that is the demographic where people start having disposable income until there purchasing decisions are so fixed into habit the the ads have limited impact.  I'm not saying it's right but that's why they don't care as much about the over 50 demographic.


That's half the problem. The other half is that 50+ viewers just watch more television in general.  The average 50-64-year old watches 44 hours of live* television per week, compared to the average 35-49 (34 hours/wk) and the average 25-34 (29 hours/wk).

Younger viewers are more scarce, so the thinking is that you target them when they're most likely to be watching television (primetime hours) and then catch the older viewers when they're watching TV while younger viewers aren't (local news and daytime programming), which also happens to be less expensive ad time, since younger viewers aren't watching.

* "Live" in this case means watching live or watching a DVR'd program the same day it airs.
 
2013-10-25 12:54:55 PM  

ZAZ: Interesting analysis. I noticed the sexualization of TV 20-25 years ago but didn't connect it to changes in rating methodology.

But when Nielsen introduced "people meters" in 1987, that all changed.

Reminds me of a story I read about how music ratings changed in the 1990s. They started including sales through Walmart and had to face the fact that country music was popular.


Old rockers do not die. They become country music fans.
 
2013-10-25 01:00:35 PM  

redstarr01: Isn't 18-49 a kind of wide category?  The shows and advertised products that appeal to an 18 year old are not likely to be nearly as relevant to the interests of a 49 year old.  I'd think that not only would it be hard to design a show that seemed good to that huge age range, but that it would be wasting a lot of advertising time reaching eyes that have very little likelihood of buying the product.


Not everybody uses 18-49.  I know the CW targets 18-34 and I think some of the cable networks use that as well as 25-54.

For some reason, advertisers like 18-49.  They could set ad rates based on some other metric, but they usually don't.

It's also important to remember that, while we see 18-49 most often, Nielsen tracks everything, so if advertisers said "we will only pay based on the rating for 25-year old Hispanic women," Nielsen could get them that number.  It's just that 18-49 is the most popular for advertisers, so it's the number Nielsen releases most often (and that news outlets report most often as well).
 
2013-10-25 01:17:01 PM  

To The Escape Zeppelin!: abfalter: Because TV ratings are not interested in people who watch TV.  They are interested in people who buy things after seeing advertisements on TV.

Yep. I'm not sure if the buying power and habits of the +50 group make focusing on them worthwhile. 10 teenagers who see your commercial are worth 1000 grandmothers since grandma isn't going to go out and buy your product.


Always buy your parents things you want for yourself.

That way, it's easy to sort out the enormous warehouse full of soap, etc., when they die. Everybody just takes back their gifts and nobody feels they've been robbed of their share of the inheritance. But you have to be on the spot when the estate is dismantled or you get nada. I made the mistake of buying things that other people would want--all the silver and crystal knick-knacks and things that my Mother didn't get just disappeared. I have a handful of souvenirs and some left-over junk nobody wanted. I'm not a greedy person but I am annoyed that nobody gave me a moment's thought.

Still, I'm lucky I didn't inherit a lot of furniture for which I have no room. Some of the stuff that disappeared would have been valuable--my grandfather's collection of fossils and rock samples, for example--but only if you were a collector or wanted to build a unique rock garden. I do wish somebody had had the sense to realize that these things sell for hundreds, even thousands of dollars in gift shops and on the web. They probably would not have chucked them or whatever. I would have liked to have had at least one nice specimen, even if I had had to carry it home.

My parents and their siblings are now at the point that they don't even re-gift stuff they don't want. They just put it away. It will all be there until they move into a granny flat in an old folks home or buy a smaller house or condo. All of their stuff will then disappear, along with a heck of a lot of my stuff that is still in their  house.

If only people would think and be considerate. Mind you, I haven't made a will in a long time and things could get very iffy if I die before I do. The Government would end up with my investments and savings, and nobody would give a damn about my genealogy, books, etc. Whole estates of really great stuff end up given away to booksellers and the like for the cost of carting them away.

If you want somebody to have it, you need to put it down on paper. My grandmother put tags on all her things years before she died, but, of course, everything went to the few people who asked for specific things. I suppose that helps guarantee that things go to somebody who cares enough to keep them for the next generation, but it isn't the best way to do things from the point of view of those who don't or won't grab    what they want like a hoard of Mongol invaders.

Good wills, like good fences, make for good relations. The Devil of family feuds and anger and resentment is often in the very small details. If all you want is a small spoon and somebody else gets the house, land and the small spoon, that's a problem. It really isn't always about money and antique heirlooms. Sometimes it's just a happy memory.

And sometimes you have to let go regardless. I just don't have room, time, money or confidence that I could carry a lot of heirlooms to the next generation safely. Any heirlooms my family gets from me are likely to be created by me or things that needed to skip a generation or two to find their value and their valuer.
 
2013-10-25 01:42:00 PM  

Clemkadidlefark: AverageAmericanGuy: If Neilsen ever revealed their methodology, they'd be out of business.

Not because everyone would know how to implement the same methodology, but because everyone would realize it was a fraud.

This x 3



i work for nielsen, so i'm getting a kick, etc.


/not gonna argue with those claims
 
2013-10-25 03:20:07 PM  

durbnpoisn: My wife and I were just commenting on why we don't watch any of the new shows that were on.  Right as she said this, I said, "ok, let's see what's on right now.", and proceeded to flip through the prime time networks.  Not a single comedy.  It was all dramas or reality shows.  You can't keep up with any of them unless you've been watching from the beginning, because once you miss an episode, you're lost.
That explains that much.

One other thing that annoys me is that it seems that many of the new comedies are starting to adopt that whole "first person interview" format.  That REALLY starts to drive me up the wall after a while.

That explains why TV for me consists of the news, Jeopardy, and Big Bang Thoery reruns...  That's about it.


This.  Jeopardy is the only show worth watching.  Maybe the BBT too.
 
2013-10-25 04:33:19 PM  
18 years old was about the time when I realized TV sucked.
 
2013-10-25 06:20:35 PM  
This seems so wrong.  It seems like nowadays you see nothing but shows geared at older people (on the big 3 at least).  It seems like a majority of the shows are crime dramas which appeal to the 50+ crowd.  There's almost nothing left for me to watch on Network tv, Once Parks and Rec, Community, and HIMYM finish I'll probably be done for good with them.  Even the hour longs I had hope for have ended up sucking - Agents of Shield and Revolution.

Until networks can get programming like Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story, etc. without ruining/dumbing them down they are probably going to become less popular with people, especially those under 50.

I will admit I like some of the reality competition shows, but the only ones I watch still on the networks are Survivor and Celebrity Apprentice which are both a little stale at this point.  I'll throw stuff like Top Chef or Project Runway on in the background while I doing something else, but I don't even bother tivoing that stuff since it repeats constantly.

Of course my house could probably survive with Comedy Central, AMC, HBO, and the Food Network.  Of course I like choices and variety and get the largest cable package I can get so I suppose I make no sense.

/I know I'm off topic and rambling.

/PS I hate Nielsen and think it's complete BS
 
2013-10-25 07:04:29 PM  
Throw away your television!
 
2013-10-25 10:28:32 PM  
TFA says the average age of people watching NBC, CBS, ABS is well over fifty.  That's why all the ads are for medications of some sort or other.

If you grew up watching television you're probably still doing it.

Today's kids are growing up watching their telephones.
 
2013-10-26 05:39:28 AM  

Skirl Hutsenreiter: pkellmey: I was one of those Neilsen television people for about 1 year. They took into account when the television was on in the house and who was home at the time. They then looked at purchases made during the same time period. In my house, all three of those things are completely independent of each other.

I did the radio equivalent once when I was in high school.  They had given one of my friends five surveys to hand out to anyone she could convince to do it.  The instructions were very clear that you had to record any radio you heard under any circumstances.  Every day at the same time I rode a bus with two other people doing the survey.  So their data had this huge spike in white girls listening to a Spanish station during the same fifteen minute block each day.  Worst methodology ever.


Sounds perfect to me.  Your part was to record raw data, not interpret it.
 
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