Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Flawed Nielsen Assumptions
Rich at Copywrite Ink always uses Saturdays to write an article about Jericho. This past Saturday was no exception. The article's title is: "Paint By Numbers: Network Ratings." You can read the entire article here.
What I found to be of particular interest were the comments left on the article.
First, there's PlatPat from the CBS board who says, "The entire systems is flawed in too many ways to "count"!!
First, there's the problem with the location placement of the puny number of boxes;
Then, the puny number of boxes;
Then, the demographic factor of throwing out the boomer generation;
Then, the fact that it is "assumed" that if the TV is tuned into a show in a Neilsen household that ANYONE is actually watching the TV;
Then, it is "assumed" that if that household has 5 members, that those 5 members are all watching;
Then, it is "assumed" that if 3 of those 5 members are within the proper demographic, that all 3 of them are watching.
Then, those same factors are "assumed" for any DVR or TiVo timeshifting numbers;
Then, there's the problem that advertisers are convinced they want to use these numbers when paying for advertising.
How many ways can something be broken before it gets fixed?"
Rich replied, "I think you nailed most of the flaws; great run down. It only gets worse from there.
These numbers are then used to justify critical reviews, build and kill careers, sell advertising, position networks, etc. Is it any wonder we watch programming and wonder why certain advertisements completely miss us as consumers?
Sadly, it is not so much as how broken does it have to get, but what can we replace it with. That seems to be what most people are trying to work on now, but unfortunately, they are also pretending these numbers mean something in the meantime.
Four to five years is a tremendous amount of time for Nielsen to make good on its "everybody counts" concept. Entire companies are founded, shine, and burn out or bought out in less time."
Why is this important? Because this is the system we're stuck with and the one CBS uses. I want to make sure, if they try to cancel Jericho again, that we have plenty of ammunition with which to fight back. I'm adding this exchange to my arsenal. You should too.