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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

we don't count

Christy and i were recently selected to be a Nielson family. That is, we were going to be one of the families who's TV watching habits were monitored to see who is watching what. Those numbers are then analized to see what the number one show on a given night was, etc.

My family got a chance to do this when i was younger, so i was excited to get the chance. Even though we don't have cable, we were looking forward to being able to 'pad' the ratings for hockey and Stargate, etc. that are still occasionally on broadcast TV.

However, you will note i am using all passed-tense verbs.
The guy came out this afternoon and determined we were a no-go.

Normally, they need a phone jack near every TV. We don't have one upstairs. But they said they have a 'wireless' model that would work. The problem came in with the computers.

We have a normal TV upstairs with a tuner. However, there is a PC hooked up to it that we watch things from occasionally. Downstairs there is a 19" LCD TV with a tuner we use sometimes, a VCR with a tuner we use sometimes, and a computer with an HDTV tuner that can display on the 19" screen or on the full projector system. They don't have any way to measure people with TV tuner cards. The guy said they just got the ability to measure content coming from DVR's and DVD players... wow. They are YEARS behind. It is amazing to me that the company that all TV advertisers and networks use to measure the success or failure of a given show don't have the ability to measure even the most basic of PC-based TV tuners. Not to mention all the watching of content we see streamed over the web (like Christy watching Ugly Betty).

As a result - if they can't measure every TV in the house, they don't measure anything.

It really makes me wonder just how under-represented geeks are. Giving in to stereo-types, i wonder how that affects the ratings of shows like Stargate, etc. At the very least i now know that my demographic (young, techno-savvy, upper-middle class, etc) are not being represented and as a result, our shows are not getting their due.

Oh well.
Another reminder that the world is not perfect, despite my best efforts.

Note: They did say they are working on being able to measure PC-based tuners. They are supposedly testing some methods in other markets. They said that we will still be selected as a ratings family when they can measure us, which will be 9 months to a year from now. So, if you will pardon the pun: stay tuned.

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