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|Nielsen begins largest ever expansion|
|Topic Started: Oct 1 2007, 06:43 PM (506 Views)|
|Steve Frame||Oct 1 2007, 06:43 PM Post #1|
Nielsen begins largest ever expansion of its US Television ratings panel
MUMBAI: US media research firm Nielsen will triple the size of its National People Meter (NPM) television ratings panel by 2011, further increasing the precision of its national television ratings and providing more flexibility for measuring non-traditional television viewing.
Nielsen's NPM panel, which now encompasses about 12,000 US households and 35,000 people, will increase to 37,000 homes and 100,000 people as the company completes the previously announced introduction of Local People Meters (LPM) into 56 local US markets, and integrates these sample homes into the NPM.
The sample expansion begins in November when three LPM markets are integrated into the National sample. For research purposes, this expansion will result in an "effective" sample size of 17,000 households after weighting for the geographical distribution of the 56 LPM markets is taken into account. The "effective" sample size of the NPM panel
is now 10,000 households.
The firm adds that larger sample sizes are increasingly important due to the continuing fragmentation of television viewing. A larger sample also supports the more granular measurement that clients are requesting as the television industry moves in the direction of commercial minute ratings. It will further help Nielsen accomplish many of the objectives of its Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement (A2/M2) initiative, which seeks to measure televised video as it moves beyond the television set in the home to the Internet, hand-held devices and to platforms outside the house.
Nielsen US executive VP client services Sara Erichson says, "Nielsen is committed to continuously improving the quality of its television measurement and this expansion will be a major step forward in the accuracy and the flexibility of our national television panel. With a panel of a hundred thousand people, we can more precisely pinpoint the viewing of all demographic groups and dig deeper into the audience levels for networks of all sizes."
The firnm says the move s also has implications for Nielsen's A2/M2 initiatives, all of which are built around the concept of 'following the video,' wherever it migrates. The plans for out-of-home viewing, streaming video on the Internet, and 'third screen' devices such as cell phones and hand-held video players, are based on integrating these measurements with traditional television measurement. This much larger national sample creates the necessary foundation for0 an integrated measurement approach.
|Steve Frame||Oct 1 2007, 06:45 PM Post #2|
Here's another article about recent changes to Nielsen:
CHANNEL ISLAND: The DVR could save your show
Nielsen adds 'time-shifted' viewings to TV ratings, which could benefit scripted shows and lower audience ages.
By Scott Collins, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 1, 2007
ONE week into the fall TV season, and we already have some notions about which prime-time series are likely to stick around for a while. "Bionic Woman" and "Private Practice" look like hits. "Gossip Girl" and "K-Ville"? Not so much.
Don't cry yet, though -- your favorite underperforming new show may not necessarily be headed for the same fate as Josie Maran on "Dancing With the Stars." At the very least, it will probably take the networks a little longer to practice their customary rank-'n'-yank bloodletting this year.
That's because the ratings system is undergoing one of its most sweeping overhauls since the advent 20 years ago of Nielsen "people meters," a then-state-of-the-art audience measurement tool that offered more precision than the viewing diaries that participants had filled out for decades. The effect on the TV programs you watch could be comparable to what happened to the record industry in the early 1990s, when the emergence of detailed sales data collected by SoundScan upended long-cherished assumptions about the music people really wanted to buy (howdy there, Garth Brooks).
The new changes focus on digital video recorders, which are right now in about one-fifth of U.S. homes with television and soon will be in a lot more than that, because cable and satellite operators are including them with the set-top boxes they rent to many new customers.
This fall, homes with DVRs make up nearly 20% (compared with 9% last fall) of Nielsen's national sample of TV viewers -- the cohort whose closely scrutinized behavioral patterns are the most important single factor in deciding whether programs live or die.
More important, this season, for the first time ever, the TV business will have access to ratings data that take into account viewers who play back shows on their DVRs. Viewings up to three days after the original airing will be counted.
Why does that matter? Well, some shows are going to get a big bounce once the playback numbers are included (and yes, other shows won't get much help at all, which could lower their relative position in rankings).
Take, for instance, CBS' new sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," about two socially awkward young physicists. The show, which performed promisingly among people who watched the program live during its Monday premiere, added another 13% to its rating among adults ages 18 to 49, and that's just based on "time-shifted" playback later that night, according to Nielsen estimates. That's among the best playback performances of any new show this season.
This kind of adjustment has the potential to shake up prime-time program rankings -- and thus the kinds of decisions network executives make about which series to order, keep or cut.
"It will affect the rankings, no question about it," David Poltrack, executive vice president for research and planning at CBS, told Channel Island.
The advertising community agrees that the impact could be huge. "We are going to see dramatic differences this season in some ratings when the time-shifted data is included," Steve Sternberg, director of audience analysis for ad firm Magna Global, wrote me in an e-mail.
All of this may seem like a big, confusing change, because it is. Wasn't it just a few years ago, you ask, that network executives ran around acting as if loosing TiVo on the world was akin to handing nuclear weapons to Iran and North Korea? DVR technology (the development of which, by the way, the networks partly funded) allows viewers to skip commercials! The destruction of the TV industry, and possibly the remainder of Western civilization, would follow.
Now, though, TV executives have fallen deeply in love with DVRs. These little machines can help build a show's audience -- wow! The broadcast networks pushed the ad community to come to terms on getting the playback numbers into the overall ratings because the TV execs knew counting the extra viewers could only help shows, many of which are struggling mightily to find viewers during their "live" airings.
"The broadcast networks were very hot on getting" the playback numbers included in the ratings, said Andy Donchin, director of broadcast for New York ad firm Carat USA.
This follows the typical pattern of the entertainment industry, which when confronted with a groundbreaking new technology typically (1) fears and loathes it, then (2) grudgingly accommodates it and finally (3) guards it with leonine ferocity, like a winning lottery ticket. This is exactly what happened with the movie industry and VCRs.
A brief pause to rant: The playback issue is only tangentially related to a controversial and increasingly common network practice of compiling cumulative or "cume" ratings of multiple "live" airings and offering them up to journalists and other credulous folk as one big number. That's essentially what NBC did last week with two airings of the series premiere of its sci-fi hit "Heroes," as did PBS with Ken Burns' documentary "The War." This column generally takes a very dim view of such ratings-plumping tactics. Why not repeat a show 30 times so you can always report that "Seinfeld"-size number?
End of rant.
The important issue is: What now? Exactly how will these updated ratings affect what we all watch?
The short answer is that we don't entirely know. But there are certain intriguing patterns that have already developed.
Here's one: Playback almost always benefits scripted shows, like "Grey's Anatomy" or "30 Rock," more than unscripted programs such as "Survivor" or "Dancing With the Stars." That's because, as CBS' Poltrack explained, reality series usually feature a competition element and viewers want to see the results live before a co-worker or friend spoils the ending. Over time, playback data could therefore help scripted series in their battles to keep time slots from going to cheaper, unscripted programming.
Here's another pattern: Viewers who watch TV on playback are generally young. The median age of CBS' prime-time viewers last season was a relatively ancient 53. But the figure for those who watched CBS shows on DVR playback was 40. For the networks, this is probably the most crucial development of all, because in terms of "live" viewing the audience is getting old fast. For the first time last season, the combined prime-time audience of ABC, CBS and NBC had a median age of 50. You may notice that that's actually outside the 18-to-49 age range the networks usually sell -- and that's not the kind of news that network execs like to hear.
For series creators, none of this might mean much immediately. As Chuck Lorre, the executive producer behind both "Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men," told me, "My job is not distribution. . . . My job is to put on a good show that's worth watching."
But Lorre does recognize that the ground is shifting. If new ratings formulas mean more viewers for his latest show, he'll gladly take them, whenever and however they decide to watch.
"That's something that's going on with TV: Too many choices right now," he said.
The Channel Island column runs every Monday in Calendar. Contact Scott Collins at email@example.com.
|Steve Frame||Oct 1 2007, 06:47 PM Post #3|
Here's another I have already posted but it clearly shows Nielsen is working:
The new Nielsen ratings
It’s official: Nielsen Media Research, which has measured television audiences for half a century, is introducing a new ratings system that will be used by the TV networks and the ad agencies that buy time on them.
The formal name for the new measuring-stick is the “live-plus-three-day commercial rating,” and it departs from the current ratings in two ways:
•It will measure, minute-by-minute, viewership for the commercial breaks, as opposed to the entire program. Networks have agreed to transmit an audio code (you won’t hear it) whenever there is a break. This tone will signal to the electronic meters used by Nielsen that the next 60 seconds are to count toward the commercial rating.
•It will measure all viewing of a particular program over a three-day span, beginning with the live broadcast time. The live-plus-three rating thus becomes the first widely accepted benchmark in American TV to acknowledge the growing use of digital video recorders.
Advertisers agreed to the new ratings standard because it makes networks accountable for the viewers actually watching the commercials and eliminates those who use their DVRs to skip through the breaks. Networks agreed to the new measuring-stick because they think the three-day window will allow them to beef up their ratings for shows that currently compete against each other.
Research has found that some shows’ ratings jump as much 60 percent when DVR homes are given three days to catch up. This means is that, just like a movie studio waiting for weekend box-office results, networks will now have to wait three days to know how well a TV show was received. My choice for best new show of the fall, CW’s “Reaper,” airs opposite the top drama on TV, Fox’s “House,” making “Reaper” an early test case of the DVR effect.
|Steve Frame||Oct 1 2007, 06:48 PM Post #4|
People complain about the Nielsen's. Hey it's not perfect but it is all we have and they are working on things. Just last year they added colleges, which people said would make ratings go up. Guess what it didn't.
Nielsen is trying.
|Mason||Oct 1 2007, 06:55 PM Post #5|
I have one word to say about this.
Oh, and also,
It's about damn time!
|Rick||Oct 1 2007, 07:06 PM Post #6|
Thanks for posting those articles Steve.
Excellent news for TBBT!
I wonder if adding 25,000 more homes will affect ratings much? I'd think it would have to.
I never liked the fact that 12,000 households controled what shows stayed or got cancelled. :( I'm just glad Nielsen is trying.
|Mason||Oct 1 2007, 07:09 PM Post #7|
||Hopefully, we see results on daytime as well as primetime, although, who knows if it'll be soon enough...:(|
|Steve Frame||Oct 1 2007, 07:31 PM Post #8|
Sure it is about time Mason, but I remind you that the numbers will only look better to us.
Sure the networks will like that 25,000 extra homes saw the show, but if this new device proves that only part of that 25,000 watched the commercials they are still going to have trouble selling the show to advertisers. If they can't get the money to pay the actors and the production costs, even 25,000 more homes is not going to save the show in the long run.
It all boils down to money and advertisers aren't going to waste it esp. in this day and age when advertising budgets are tighter for most corporations than ever before.
|Rick||Oct 1 2007, 07:48 PM Post #9|
What do you think DVR means for future TV Steve? Since it isn't going to matter if they add more or not. I'd say only about 10-15% of DVR viewers even watch commercials.
More product placement within the show? More reality shows? More sitcoms (since they cost a fraction of what a Drama costs to produce)
Surely there must be some way to make it where commercials cannot be FF?
|Steve Frame||Oct 1 2007, 07:57 PM Post #10|
If this proves that people aren't watching the commercials, I see that as a possibility, but I don't see them ever getting something to stop commercials.
If advertisers decide to stick with TV advertising, I would expect more product placement to be one avenue. More product tie ins like the movies have. If a show is proven to have more fans that watch commercials, you will see more advertising dollars go to those programs. At least that is what I would do.
And yes esp. on networks I see more programs that cost less. If networks want to stay in business they will have to invent new ways to get the advertising dollars or new ways to raise the money. I see cheaper programs for one thing. Possibly more game shows as it said they are very cheap to produce and ones like Price Is Right do the advertising for the products right in them.
Also you will see more networks offer online viewing of their programs but at a price. And you will see more reality shows do what Big Brother did this year. More cell phone cost voting. The networks get so much of that money to go toward producing the show. So I think you will unfortunately see more of that. And I don't like that at all.
I am sure the networks will come up with more ways. Of course with soaps more than primetime, it will their budgets that will take the biggest hits. You will have cheaper actors and less sets.
|Rick||Oct 1 2007, 10:32 PM Post #11|
Not sure if you watch CSI New York or Criminal Minds, but they are doing that this season.
During the last commercial break there's a question and the wonner wins 1,000 bucks.
What did the perp use to strangle the vic?
Text 1 for Piano String
Text 2 for Barb Wire
Text 3 for Nylon Rope
Text messages cost .99 cents :blah:
I hate it too, but I guess if it means saving a show :shrug:
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