Friday, December 15, 2006

Nielsen Ratings

I got a phone call tonight, and on a whim, didn't politely refuse to talk with who I thought was a telemarketer. It turned out to be a lady from Nielsen Media Research.

Sometime in early January, Linzy and I will be one of the families tracking our TV viewing, for use by Nielsen in producing television ratings. In the back of my mind, I was kind of hoping we would get one of the crazy metering systems, mainly because I wanted to see how it would deal with the DVR, multiple TV sets, etc. But instead we'll be using decidedly low-tech diaries.

There will be one diary for each TV, and then we are supposed to write down anything we use that TV for and who was doing it. That apparently includes movies and video games, in addition to TV shows. She did however say that nothing on the computer counted.

Then I totally confused her when I started asking about shows being streamed to the TV from a computer. Eventually she punted and said "If you are viewing it on the TV, write it down." I'm still not sure how I'm going to record "Episode 12 of last year's 24 season" in the diary.

They also don't care if it is an HDTV version of a show, which I thought was interesting.

Regardless, now if your favorite show loses big in the January sweeps (which I didn't even know existed), you can blame me.


Andrea A. said...

For some reason I had it in my head that if you were picked to be a Nielson family, you weren't supposed to tell anybody. I don't know. I guess the little guy in my head made that up.

Steve Eck said...

They didn't say anything in the phone call about not mentioning it to anyone. It's possible the information packet will show up and say "Don't tell anyone", but by that time it will be too late. :)

Scooter said...

Pooteewheet and I were a Neilsen family (couple) way back when we lived in an apartment at the U of MN in our college days (16 years ago), and even then they had electronic monitors - we never had to write down anything. And we weren't supposed to tell, although my mother-in-law knew and kept trying to make us watch her 40's style nostalgia shows before they were taken off the air.