Case in point, I'm not planning to watch Fringe this season - I'll buy the DVD later. Yet under Nielsen's decades-old criteria, if I'm not in front of my TV tonight at 8 or whenever, I don't count.
Now you're making things even more complicated. Remember, this isn't about measuring program viewing. It's about measuring advertising.
No ads on a DVD, therefore it doesn't need to be part of the overall ad-measurement system.
Your DVD purchase certainly will count. The studio making Fringe
will add that to its balance sheet. But Fox still needs to make $$ too. Maybe Fox is the producing studio but that's not always the case.
The new system is
about adding up every speck of advertising viewing that can be obtained, whether on broadcast, ads on Hulu, or whatever. But keep in mind that shows don't survive because they make money. They survive because they make more money than other shows. It's all relative. If the newly counted ads benefit all shows across the board, the ones on the bubble will still be on the bubble.
The only problem with coming up with Nielsen 2.0 is that I honestly can't think of a truly accurate way to measure viewership without entering into Big Brother territory - tracking what we watch on our DVD players or iPods or computers.
We're safe from Big Brother for the foreseeable future because our viewing habits aren't worth the immense expense that spying on us would entail. Whatever the new system is, it will continue to be an approximation and anyone who dislikes the numbers will find a million reasons to discredit them. But as long as the advertisers like the numbers, that's all anyone cares about.