The Nielsen Equation

In an effort to blog more and more often, I have set a goal for myself to watch one TED video every morning, and write a short blog post about it. So… let’s kick this off shall we?

There was one particular point that struck me in this video:

If you’ve got an elementary particle and you shine a light on it, then the photon of light has momentum, which knocks the particle, so you don’t know where it was before you looked at it. By measuring it, the act of measurement changes it. The act of observation changes it. It’s the same in marketing.

Why? Well, I’m not sure if any of you are aware of the number of television shows are canceled every year, nevermind the number of shows on FOX that have been canned, but they are all determined by one thing: Nielsen ratings. Nielsen ratings are basically a sample of people who statistically represent the nation as a whole. They are what determines the fate of a show. Basically, the better a show fares on Nielsen tests, the better ad dollars it can pull in, and everyone on the show can get paid.

I am not a huge fan of Nielsen ratings; they cannot accurately measure everything about television shows, which is evident because a large number of very well made shows have been canceled in the past. Of course, set top boxes are unreliable for data; all they can do is tell whether it is turned on or off.

I offer two alternatives:

  • Make the set top boxes measure actual data. Sure, demographics may not be able to be measured accurately, but you can certainly give it a shot.
  • Measure your shows online. Give people access to your shows, make them sign up on your website, and track their watching patterns, anonymously of course. This kind of information would be invaluable, but possibly limited to the younger generations.

The biggest problem behind television is that all of this is being done because they need to sell advertising on these time slots, and that’s exactly why I dislike it. Commercials are a nuisance, and I would love for the entire model to change.

If only!

I would love to get your thoughts on the matter: Nielsen ratings, television shows, commercials, anything and everything in between! Comment down below.