I’d like to know who Nielson is polling…have you ever met anyone who was polled by the Nielson ratings? And, for the poll to be meaningful, shouldn’t some of us have rubbed elbows with someone who has…somewhere in our lifetime?
Nielsen isn’t a scientific poll, nor has it ever claimed to be.
Nielsen doesn’t care about overall ratings or the total amount of viewer. Nielsen is a service to sell ads. THIS is what they poll.
Ad rates on TV show have gone through processes over the years.
In the old days Nielsen did do a random scientific polls. But this was shortly after the transition from radio into the 1960s.
Nielsen SELLS it’s statistics to TV stations. So they are very careful who they pick. If you’re not likely to buy from TV, you won’t qualify for this survey.
TV stations don’t care about raw numbers, they only care about who is likely to buy a product as a result of seeing an ad.
This is kind of difficult for most people to understand, they don’t count and what’s more important is TV stations don’t WANT you to count, necessarily
Nielsen does reflect what it sets out to do. Give numbers of people who want to buy products after seeing a TV show ad.
I had a friend who kept a diary for them for a month. Just to be an ass, he purposely failed to watch any TV that month and noted in the diary all the things he did instead.
As karmatic payback, he and his wife adopted a boy and got pregnant right afterward. Now he has to watch all those kids shows, which he complains often about.
Yes, I did last year. I know several people who have also done it.
An old girlfriend and her roommate were, back in the mid-eighties. They had a device hooked up to their TV which monitored what they watched. I’m sure they do it differently now.
I kept a diary for them two different times. This was back in the late eighties and/or early nineties. I remember being frustrated that there was no way to account for the shows I was videotaping while I watched something else. Home taping was new enough that thier system didn’t take it into consideration. I think the second time they told me to write down the taped shows as I watched them. I recall several phone calls for each diary session to make sure I understood the process and to remind me to keep up with it and to remind me to mail it back.
Once, early 00’s, when Buffy was still on the air. Since I religiously filled it out for both it and the Angel spinoff, I eagerly awaited a ratings jump in said shows the next week, just because of lil’ ol’ me. Nope, but oh well.
I keep a viewing diary for them about once every couple of years.
I’ve gotten the diary from them twice. Last time I forgot to send it back in, though. If I got it again it’d be easy; write in that I don’t have TV (no cable, and I don’t want to fuss with an antenna) and be done. The few things I regularly watch I watch online.
I’ve done the diary twice, and a friend did a diary and had a device installed. My second diary and his diary were actually simultaneous, and we both worked overnights and watched overnight television. Our diaries had to have caused a noticeable bump in nighttime numbers for a couple of shows, as long as Nielsen didn’t bump our diaries out for being outliers. Indianapolis is saturated with broadcasters, and I’ve seen ratings listings where approximate overnight viewers for some stations are <10, so having two diary-keepers watching TV at 2 in the morning must have skewed things.
They did not send me a diary. First they called. When they found out I did not have a TV–the woman who called to prequalify me thought I was lying. (This was in the '80s.) She said this was an opportunity of a lifetime, because only one out of some number of thousand people EVER had the opportunity. Like, I should go out and buy a TV for this opportunity?
I thought it was a scam, but later found out it was probably legit. I still didn’t buy a TV (until 2001).
Back in the early 80s, I was sent a Nielsen logbook and asked to keep track of what my family watched for a week or two. I mailed it back to them, and have had no further contact from Nielsen since.
Far too late to edit: I have a TV, I just don’t use it, except for the very rare VHS viewing of something. Yes, I still have a working VCR.
I’ve done radio ratings a few times. Last year I probably skewed the ratings since I only listened to XM during that week.
I had a logbook for a month a few years ago, and even posted about it.
I found it a perfect example of the Hawthorne Effect, since being watched changed my behavior.
I turned to some fairly low rated shows that I did watch once in a while more often, to support them.
(We get a Classics channel with dance and classical music performances.)
I did for about two weeks…whatever year Washington beat Buffalo in the Super Bowl. Haven’t heard from since. Maybe they didn’t like the fact I listed Shari Lewis “Lamp Chop’s Play-along” on PBS.
I had a diary once, years ago. I’ve also kept an Arbitron book.
I made up a lot of stuff for the Nielson book – basically wrote in a lot of PBS stuff, and other stuff I wanted to boost numbers for rather than the low brow crap I was actually watching. I suspect that a lot of other people are as dishonest with the books as I was. Even the device isn’t necessarily that reliable, since just because the TV is on doesn’t mean anybody is watching it.
I did the radio logbook once, when I was a teenage metalhead. The hard rock station in Boston ('AAF) hopefully got a good boost out of it.
i’ve twice been a Neilson diary keeper.
I did it once. Unfortunately I was going through an extremely busy week at work, so didn’t have time to watch much tv.