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April 10 2013, 05:22 PM   #2310
Christopher
Writer

Re: sf/f TV development news - 2013

AvBaur wrote:
stj wrote:
 AvBaur wrote: Is there any tv show, then, whose fans aren't a minority?
No. There are no mythical "modern standards" that can turn ten percent of an audience into a majority.
If that's the case, then what does the fact that a show is "only" liked by a minority have to do with it being a failure or a success?
Exactly. stj, you're engaged in a classic abuse of statistics: taking raw numbers out of context and thereby grossly misrepresenting what they actually mean. A majority is just a number -- a value greater than fifty percent of a total group -- but numbers are only meaningful in relation to their context. In some contexts, like an election between two candidates, it matters whether something is a majority or not. But in other contexts, it's a completely useless standard. If there's a Thanksgiving dinner attended by a family of twelve, and no one person has a majority of the pumpkin pie, that doesn't mean everybody hated the pumpkin pie. It just means that the pie was divided up among such a large number of people that it was impossible for any one of them to get anywhere near 50%. So the majority would be an irrelevant figure in that context, and citing it would demonstrate nothing except the citer's ignorance of statistics.

The figure that is relevant here is a plurality: the largest share that any of the competitors gets out of the total. If there are five shows competing for a time slot, and show A gets 15% of the viewers, B gets 9%, C gets 24%, D gets 36%, and E gets 16%, then D is obviously the most popular show. What matters isn't whether any of them gets more than half, but which one gets the largest percentage, which one does best compared to the others. And of course these days there are dozens or hundreds of shows competing for the same slot in any given market. So if one show gets even as much as 10 percent of the whole when it's one of hundreds of competitors, that's actually an amazingly good showing. Think about the math. If, say, 200 shows were all watched by equal numbers of people, each one would have to get only half a percent of the total. So for one show to get ten percent, to do twenty times better than the average, is very impressive.
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Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

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