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Old September 10 2009, 08:06 PM   #1
Barbados Slim
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Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

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After weeks of rumors, it's finally official: 14 different companies across media have created the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, aiming to incubate new methods for figuring out who is watching the world's media.

The list of participants ranges from ESPN, CBS and Disney, to Procter & Gamble, media buying firm MAGNA Global and AT&T. The goal: to find a better way to count who watches media across broadcast networks, cable channels, online sources, mobile media and more.

When news broke of the initiative last month, industry experts wondered whether the coalition might threaten the dominance of The Nielsen Company, which is the sole provider of TV ratings to the industry, using data tabulated at a huge collection facility in Oldsmar.

And while some coalition participants have tried to downplay the threat to Nielsen -- CBS/Paramount television president Nancy Tellem assured "we expect Nielsen, along with other research entities, to be part of the solution" in a statement -- others note that this initiative provides an easy way for other companies to bring new ideas for ratings tabulation to an enormous chunk of the industry at once.

For many years, TV industry types have complained about the accuracy of media ratings, especially as viewing has become more fragmented by online video, mobile devices and digital video recorders. Recent glitches with Nielsen's data hasn't helped matters, including technical problems earlier this year which stopped the company from releasing overnight TV ratings for days.

In the past, such dissatisfaction has fueled attempts to build new ratings services from scratch; efforts often thwarted when Nielsen adopted its own versions of ideas advanced by competitors.

But this is the first time so many companies in modern media have banded together to seek solutions.

The coalition has a teleconference set for 1 p.m. today; more answers should follow.
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Old September 11 2009, 02:58 AM   #2
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

Well, that should give us all an new set of ratings to slam for not being favorable to our favorite TV shows. The fun part is that apparently this will all be available to the public.

The CIMM intends to measure TV ratings data across multiple platforms and make the results publicly available.
This isn't going to be a replacement for Nielsens but a way of trying to measure all that non-TV-eyeballs stuff that's poppin' up all over...

B&C story.

Wurtzel explained that this was not about creating a new currency but rather a way of moving towards single source data measurement. Any company would be free to share its findings. “This organization is a little bit like PBS, we need everyone to contribute. It’s a lot like the honors system, it’s not venture capital, it is to find things that are out there and see if these things can be made viable and use them to improve measurement,” he said.
I've got the same question as always: what's to stop those with a vested interest in manipulating the data - and that's everyone except Nielsens - from doing just that? Where's the independent oversight in all this? What happens when (not if) data from two sources are inconsistent?

Ratings measurement is an expensive endeavor and the CIMM first has the challenge of trying to harvest information that will be worthwhile and credible to advertisers. The task is especially tricky when the information is filtered through an outfit partly run by the networks.
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Old September 11 2009, 03:55 AM   #3
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

Nielsen is as relevant as astro turf.
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Old September 11 2009, 04:16 AM   #4
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

They'll discover that less people are watching t.v. than they realized, and most first run shows will be cancelled, reruns of shows like "Alice" and "My Three Sons" will be all that's left on the air besides the History's Channel's final new specials "Life After Television".
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Old September 11 2009, 05:20 AM   #5
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

Aragorn wrote: View Post
Nielsen is as relevant as astro turf.
But I'm not sure that any new body will actually be any better - especially when the actual networks are involved as I don't think they can trusted.
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Old September 11 2009, 05:50 AM   #6
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

I hope the execs at Neilsen are shitting their pants. Those c***s have been responsible for the demise of SO MANY good tv shows. About time they feel some fear in return.


Tulin - who hates the out-dated '50's version of terrestrial television and cannot wait until it just all goes on the 'net, like it SHOULD!!!
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Old September 11 2009, 06:49 PM   #7
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

Why are you so sure the new system wouldn't get even more "good" TV shows cancelled and leave us with nothing more than reality crap and derivative police procedurals?
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Old September 12 2009, 08:36 AM   #8
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

I'm wary of this new idea... but maybe they'll realize that while some shows aren't watched first run, they ARE watched anyway. I mean, how many people on this board will wait the day or two it takes for a new episode of a show to pop up on Hulu or the network's website? Do the Neilsen's guage that? Or what about those that have stuff Tivo'd? Or hell, what about the people in other countries who download copies of the episodes from their american counterparts a few days later. I know its not helping advertisers, but hey... at least its showing just how many eyeballs are watching a show. And honestly they need to start going through BBS's and even YouTube and watching comments and fan reviews. If the fans of the shows are turning away, then yeah... maybe its time to pull the plug or revamp.

Of course if the new Ratings Company were to come to the TrekBBS... what would they think of some shows?
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Old September 12 2009, 06:46 PM   #9
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

but maybe they'll realize that while some shows aren't watched first run, they ARE watched anyway.
They do realize that. This consortium's job is to figure out how to reliably measure all viewing and more importantly, measure the impact of the advertising for that viewing so that the ad rates can be applied equitably.

And that is really more the point than "replacing the Nielsens," which is a mistaken impression that people are glomming onto.

Or hell, what about the people in other countries who download copies of the episodes from their american counterparts a few days later.
Unless illegal downloads have ads attached, those viewings will continue to be irrelevant. This is about measuring ad viewing, not measuring program viewing. The placement of ads vary for the types of viewing - on TV, you get ads every 15 minutes, on TiVO half of the ads go unviewed, on Hulu (I think) the only ad appears at the beginning of the program. So one show viewed one way will not be equal to that same show viewed another.

In theory, in-show product placements would make even illegal downloads worth something to advertisers. But corporate advertising departments tend to be localized by country or region, which means that the people handling Nissan placements in Heroes are in charge of the North American ad market and it doesn't matter one iota to them if those ads are also seen in Russia or Brazil. In fact, Nissan might not even sell that model of vehicle in Russia or Brazil, or they might have another model that they'd prefer to advertise.
And honestly they need to start going through BBS's and even YouTube and watching comments and fan reviews. If the fans of the shows are turning away, then yeah... maybe its time to pull the plug or revamp.
Why? They can measure viewings directly. If people here or elsewhere think "X is junk" and tune out, then the advertisers will find out. They shouldn't bother with TrekBBS or anyplace else, they should focus on reliable methods of measuring ad viewings.

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Old September 13 2009, 07:01 AM   #10
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

Great. The people whose products are being rated are coming up with the rating system?

Hello? McFly!

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Old September 14 2009, 07:31 AM   #11
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

Well what always bugs me is that some shows don't do that well in the Neilsen's ratings - Let's take Enterprise for instance - in some markets, many markets they played the show twice. Once on the usual slot and then again in a syndicated slot on the weekend. And I like a lot of fans I used to hang around with, might not always watch the original airtime, because something else was on, or they just didn't feel they had to rush home to watch it that night, when they KNEW that only a couple days later it would be on again. And I am sure those ratings were not counted. Only the original airdate's. Now that doesn't happen often, but there are markets that will willfully fuck up an airing schedule. Pre-empting it for a local sports game or some local programming or whatever, transmitter problems. Now, if say its a large market, the loss of that night's neilsen's might really screw the show up. Or if the local market has some like hour long special in prime time that preempts the original programming or there's some local news event going on and either the show only airs part of it, or as I recall during football season, they'll shove normal programming to late night, like after the 10PM news and then air it. Or they'll put it on another night altogether. So really, there needs to be a better way of gauging who's watching what and when.

Now I'm part of the HomeScan "family" where we scan things we buy every week and get points. So why not a similar thing? Heck it could even be online, make it worth people's while to do it. The box they have is one thing, but I'm thinking something that will let them tell them their viewing habits when they may not be at home or not using that particular box, maybe even allow a much larger demographic. Like an SMS text code that people can send something to from their cellphones after they've watched a show. Or encourage people to go to the website and do a simple survey for points.

How come there are some shows they say "oh the ratings weren't there." but then people come out of the woodwork demanding the show be put back. Petitions are made, letters get written, websites are formed. I would say that's a good indicator that "yeah this show does get watched. Fuck the ratings, put it back on."

And if the advertisers want to get their product message out to more people, then encourage more fans of shows to sign up and maybe in exchange for doing surveys or submitting a log of viewing habits, they get shit from the advertisers.

I mean Audi can advertise all they want on a show, but even if I was in their demo... I'm still not going to pay $59,000 for a car that I saw on TV.
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Old September 15 2009, 03:52 AM   #12
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

Now I'm part of the HomeScan "family" where we scan things we buy every week and get points. So why not a similar thing?
Because people who have high-tech devices like that one and TiVO hooked up to their TV, which permit the data to be captured directly, are not representative of the population as a whole. They are more white, educated, high income - the usual early-tech-adopter profile. There is already an ongoing shitstorm regarding the under-represenation of minorities in Nielsens, without making it even worse.

And if you were thinking about providing those boxes for free to every household in America, I get dizzy just thinking about how much that would cost. Whatever marginal increase in advertising accuracy that accomplishes would be wiped out a million times over by the expense.

How come there are some shows they say "oh the ratings weren't there." but then people come out of the woodwork demanding the show be put back. Petitions are made, letters get written, websites are formed. I would say that's a good indicator that "yeah this show does get watched. Fuck the ratings, put it back on."
That proves it gets watched by a vocal minority, that's all. It doesn't prove it's a minority large enough to be worth cultivating.

And if the advertisers want to get their product message out to more people, then encourage more fans of shows to sign up and maybe in exchange for doing surveys or submitting a log of viewing habits, they get shit from the advertisers.
If you want to use fan campaigns to do an end run around the networks, here's the better idea: have the fans go out and buy the products advertised. Maybe fill in a comment card mentioning that the purchase was for X show. Why bother with surveys? Just do what the advertisers want: give them your money. Advertisers will give you all the shit you want in exchange for your money. It's called shopping and it's the entire point of television.

That's what got Chuck another season - fans ate at Subway, Subway presumably saw its sales go up (they can easily tell if their sales are better than projected during the time they know a campaign like this is happening) and bingo, a low-rated show is magically saved. THAT is what I can see happening a lot more in the future, and it means Nielsens truly don't count because if the advertisers make the direct connection between a show and a spike in sales, what does anyone need Nielsens for?

But all of this is missing the important point that this consortium's goal is to measure stuff like ads on Hulu, for which there is currently no good system.

I mean Audi can advertise all they want on a show, but even if I was in their demo... I'm still not going to pay $59,000 for a car that I saw on TV.
All that proves is that Audi's advertising is inefficient, since they are wasting money on having you watch the ads, even though you are not in their target market - all ads are inefficient in exactly that way. But that's par for the course in advertising. I'm sure advertisers would love some way of not paying for anyone who isn't in the target market, but I can't envision how a system that efficient could ever be built. By somehow tracing the person from ad-viewing to auto-purchase and paying only for the ad-viewing that results in a sale? I'm sure the networks would looove that!

If there was nobody willing to buy Audis, the company would be out of business. So clearly there is a market for them to reach and TV is one of the ways for them to reach it. They just need to have some assurance that when the network gives them their data, it's accurate and complete.
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Old September 15 2009, 03:37 PM   #13
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

i know using digital cable boxes would give incomplete results...but i would be interested to see how their numbers compare to nielsen ratings (total numbers as well as sample sets). and certainly, there is a way to select samples, which includes a more acuurate sample of minorities.

In today's world, all kinds of people,of different ethnicities and incomes, have cable or sattelite TV. And those that still only use broadcast...are they really in the marketing bracket that advertisers care about anyway?

It'd be interesting to see if perhaps there are shows that people who do not like to do nielsen diaries prefer, or shows that are watched that the ratings don't acuurately pick up.



Temis has a great pint about ANTI-boycotts....buying a product to show support of the show. What o you think of a campaign where fans push buying a sponsoring prouct like toilet paper, that people coul stock up for one weeken, an/or give to friends, so that the comapny sees a sizeable bump in sales.

And if sounds like a good idea, what would be a good show to try it with...?
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Old September 16 2009, 06:48 AM   #14
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

Maybe this consortium is coming together to try and find the 5 people who think The Jay Leno show is any good.
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Old September 17 2009, 05:03 AM   #15
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Companies Band Together To Find Better Ratings Source Than Nielsen

i know using digital cable boxes would give incomplete results...but i would be interested to see how their numbers compare to nielsen ratings (total numbers as well as sample sets).
It would tell you what shows rich white people like. The Nielsens certainly deliver that sort of demographic data to advertisers, so the digital cable boxes wouldn't be adding anything new.

and certainly, there is a way to select samples, which includes a more acuurate sample of minorities.
If you're fine with the idea of TV ratings via sampling, then Nielsens already does that, so why not stick with Nielsens? The only advantage of digital boxes is that they could in theory cover 100% of households, so that any errors in sampling are no longer a problem.

In today's world, all kinds of people,of different ethnicities and incomes, have cable or sattelite TV.
But not in the same proportion, and that would throw off the numbers. Also, cable and satellite isn't going to give you a system for capturing viewing data directly - maybe the system could be augmented to allow that, but once again, too expense to be worth anyone's while. Stuff like TiVO that already does the feed-back are the things that are definitely skewed demographically.

And those that still only use broadcast...are they really in the marketing bracket that advertisers care about anyway?
If they're 18-49, sure. If they don't spend $ on cable, that's more money they can spend on what the advertisers buy.
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