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Gonna be a Nielsen family!


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15 replies to this topic

#1 of 16 OFFLINE   Bob McLaughlin

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Posted December 30 2005 - 07:26 AM

My wife just called and said we got a letter from Nielsen Media, they want us to be a Nielsen family. This means I will get to choose what the rest of you watch, based on my ratings. I hope you like BBC comedies, silent movies on AMC, Texas Hold'em tournaments, Arrested Development, Family Guy, and football in HDTV because that's pretty much all I watch.
"I'LL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND!!!" - Barton Fink

#2 of 16 OFFLINE   Jim Sentry

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Posted December 30 2005 - 07:38 AM

I thought you were not allowed to tell anybody.

#3 of 16 OFFLINE   Jason Harbaugh

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Posted December 30 2005 - 07:44 AM


Who's going to find out? It isn't like we use our real nam...oh right. Posted Image

#4 of 16 OFFLINE   Brad Porter

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Posted December 30 2005 - 09:11 AM

Maybe Bob told the Nielsen's his last name is Loblaw. Posted Image

Brad
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#5 of 16 OFFLINE   Jimi C

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Posted December 30 2005 - 09:14 AM

We did this for awhile. Beleive me, it is a pain in the ass having to write down every show you watch. Especially when you are like me and tend to flip alot during commercials and forget what you were just watching. Good luck.
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#6 of 16 OFFLINE   Jim Sentry

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Posted December 30 2005 - 09:27 AM

I thought they had a little black box that recorded everthing. Anyway remember a movie awhile back called The Ratings Game. It was about this TV exec who stole the names of all the households who had ratings machines. He "awarded" each family with a surprise sweepstakes win of a 2 week cruise. During that time his goons moved in and he had them watch only his shows.

#7 of 16 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted December 30 2005 - 09:29 AM

I'd be interested to see how the data is recorded too. I had heard before that it was a big pain in the ass to record everything you --and each member of your family-- watched.

But you'd think they'd have that more automated now. I vaguely remember hearing that they install a box that each family member has to 'punch in' and 'punch out' of whenever they start and stop watching the TV. That still sounds like a pain to me as I am frequently in and out of the room only catching portions of programs. And do you have to record what you watch on every TV in the house, or just the 'main' one?

We need answers Bob! Posted Image

#8 of 16 OFFLINE   Bob Graz

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Posted December 30 2005 - 11:15 AM

I did this years ago, logging all of our viewing in a book. It was a pain given a couple of TV's and kids and trying to keep track of all the shows. If I recall, they sent me $5 I think.

#9 of 16 OFFLINE   Bob McLaughlin

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Posted December 30 2005 - 12:15 PM

No answers yet, guys. We just got a letter saying we've been selected, and that they will be calling us soon. Probably in case we screen our calls, the letter said "WE ARE NOT SELLING ANYTHING". I'll let you know what happens when they call--unless I'm sworn to secrecy. Eh, I could be any Bob McLaughlin.
"I'LL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND!!!" - Barton Fink

#10 of 16 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted December 30 2005 - 12:38 PM

Actual "Nielsen Families" get devices that track their TV viewing. (In major markets they get "People Meters", black boxes plus remote controls that allow individual family members - and guests - to 'log in' - and out - when there are multiple people watching the same show together. Effective December 26th, Neilsen Families in at least some markets began recording PVR recording and playback as well.) The national overnight ratings are derived from these devices.

Paper diaries are supplied by both Neilsen and Arbitron (the latter mostly known for radio ratings) four times a year and are used to rate local TV stations, which are not covered by Nielsen Families. These are the famous 'sweeps periods' (February, May, July and November) when networks schedule "big ticket" programming less to inflate their own ratings than to help out their affiliates, whose ad rates for the next 90 days will be based on the sweeps results. (National network ad rates are based on Neilsen meter results, which is one reason that national cable "networks", without affiliates, often "counter program" by launching their original series in the non-sweeps periods when the broadcast networks are likely to be airing reruns.)

Typically a paper diary lasts for a month and requires ever household member to record his/her viewing habits. Having a paper diary does not make you a "Neilsen Family." You may get a diary once in your life, you may get one for three or four sweeps period running, or you may get a diary for the February sweep and no other period for three years running. But chances are you won't stay on the diary list for long, or keep a Neilsen box for more than a couple of years, for that matter. The idea is to get a representative sample of the people in an area (or across the country) and that means the pool of subjects needs to be changed from time-to-time to keep up with demographic trends. The right balance of age, ethnicity, income, family circumstances, etc. has to be maintained, and this can only be done by changing the people polled. (Since people also voluntarily drop out of both types of sampling, adjustments need to be made even more frequently than population changes would warrant.)

I used to get paper diaries from time to time, but haven't since I moved a couple of years ago. I didn't find them that annoying since it was just me living in the house, and when I had company we were more likely to be watching movies than TV shows. Posted Image

Still, I'd've loved to be a real Neilsen Household. TV as we know it would look very different. Posted Image

Regards,

Joe

#11 of 16 OFFLINE   Ray Chuang

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Posted December 30 2005 - 01:43 PM

What's interesting is that Nielsen Media Research is seriously looking at increasing the number of "People Meters" to as many as 50,000! Posted Image I think that's possible now because of the dramatic decrease in hardware costs and also easier access to bi-direction communications between the box and Neilsen's computer using either a two-way cable TV connection or using an Internet connection via dial-up or broadband connections.

When you combine 50,000 People Meters with 365/24/7 sweeps-level monitoring, this could make the whole idea of a TV season close to obselete. It will also show that many low-rated shows have extraordinarily good viewer demographics (e.g., Arrested Development).
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#12 of 16 OFFLINE   Steve Berger

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Posted December 31 2005 - 06:06 AM

I've done the Diary a couple of times (years apart) and didn't see any secrecy conditions. They started including DVR's and Tivo's in the Diary about a year ago (mine had it). Perhaps they weren't counting the results, just experimenting with accuracy but they have been looking at DVR's for a year at least. They specifically made sure that I understood the difference between a DVR and a VCR when they called (VCR's had their own reporting category).

#13 of 16 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted December 31 2005 - 01:32 PM

The diaries have been recording VCR and PVR usage for some time, but the meters have not. (Although TiVo quietly ran a voluntary pilot program to collect anonymous viewing and playback data which I believe they provided to Neilsen. Not sure if the program is still running.) Regards, Joe

#14 of 16 OFFLINE   Eric_L

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Posted January 01 2006 - 01:26 AM

I used to have a friend in college who was so 'average' (He went out of his way NOT to be 'different'; which - oddly - made him different) we used to kid him about aspiring to be a 'Nielson' family.

#15 of 16 OFFLINE   Jeff Peake

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Posted January 03 2006 - 02:39 AM

I did the neilsen paper diary thing a couple weeks ago. They sent me $15, cash, for my trouble.

#16 of 16 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted January 03 2006 - 05:01 AM



Neilsen family, hell. He probably worked for the CIA. They go for the drab, colorless, doesn't-stand-out-in-a-crowd type for a lot of their jobs. Posted Image

Regards,

Joe




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