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Interesting Cable TV Stats
Old 07-16-2013, 07:21 PM   #1
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Interesting Cable TV Stats

Don't watch much TV so I don't recognise many of these programs. Not sure what it all means anyway.

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CABLE NEWS RACE
MON., JULY 16, 2013

FOXNEWS O'REILLY 2,859,000
FOXNEWS THE FIVE 2,056,000
FOXNEWS BAIER 1,920,000
FOXNEWS HANNITY 1,910,000
FOXNEWS GRETA 1,689,000
FOXNEWS SHEP 1,589,000
CNN PIERS 1,378,000
CNN COOPER 1,258,000
CMDY DAILY SHOW 1,197,000
FOXNEWS FRIENDS 1,113,000
CMDY COLBERT 1,047,000
MSNBC MADDOW 819,000
MSNBC HARDBALL 743,000
MSNBC O'DONNELL 717,000
MSNBC SHARPTON 696,000
MSNBC HAYES 655,000
MSNBC MORNING JOE 444,000
CNNHN GRACE 444,000
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:15 PM   #2
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Nielsen data is all anyone has to go on, but it doesn't mean much. Fully half of Nielsen data is from viewing diaries that are submitted weekly or monthly and often wrong. The other half of Nielsen data relies on a device that looks like it's from 1982 and requires you to hit a button(s) describing who you are every time before you sit down to watch TV. And there's only about 28,000 Nielsen subscribers they use to get all these numbers. They don't do a great job, but they're the only game in town.

It also (likely) doesn't include on-demand content from Netflix, Hulu, or other sites, skewing the results.

However, what does that all mean? It means that Fox News has a large segment of viewers that are very loyal to the network because they relate to the way that Fox presents the news (with a strong conservative slant). Also, Fox News' viewership also tends to be older than that of most networks, and those people that are retired have more time to watch TV and are less likely to get their news online.

I am not passing judgment on the quality of any of the shows, because the only one I watch (very sporadically) is the Daily Show.
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by studbucket View Post
Nielsen data is all anyone has to go on, but it doesn't mean much. Fully half of Nielsen data is from viewing diaries that are submitted weekly or monthly and often wrong. The other half of Nielsen data relies on a device that looks like it's from 1982 and requires you to hit a button(s) describing who you are every time before you sit down to watch TV. And there's only about 28,000 Nielsen subscribers they use to get all these numbers. They don't do a great job, but they're the only game in town.
We were a Nielsen family for 4 years and ours was all automatic. We didn't have to activate anything or identify who was watching. Every tv or VCR in the house was wired to a main box in the basement that made a nightly call to Nielsen to upload our viewing data. The system knew if we watched a program live or recorded it.

We had agreed to be a Nielsen ratings household for 5 years but when we switched to from cable to DirecTV they had to drop us. At the time they didn't have the equipment to monitor satellite.

It was very interesting to be part of the program and while we were in it we had to agree to not tell anyone outside of our household.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
Don't watch much TV so I don't recognise many of these programs. Not sure what it all means anyway.
So what do you find interesting about it?
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:07 AM   #5
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It means that more people were following the Zimmerman trial on Fox than on MSNBC.
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by studbucket View Post
However, what does that all mean? It means that Fox News has a large segment of viewers that are very loyal to the network because they relate to the way that Fox presents the news (with a strong conservative slant).
Pretty much. Among the national networks, it is the only one with that slant, so it is the only one that is serving that half of the country. The other half of the country evidently has three other major, national cable sources for news.

While you're right that the ratings aren't really all that reliable as a telltale for the nation in the absolute, one thing the ratings are good for is comparisons over time. I'd be interested to see what happens to the ratings once the major event drifts into the past. Are people interested in news? or are they interested in train wrecks?
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:36 PM   #7
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I think I'll stick with "The News for Parrots". Although I've heard good things about "The News for Gibbons". Awwwk!
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Old 07-19-2013, 02:04 AM   #8
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We were a Nielsen family for 4 years and ours was all automatic. We didn't have to activate anything or identify who was watching. Every tv or VCR in the house was wired to a main box in the basement that made a nightly call to Nielsen to upload our viewing data. The system knew if we watched a program live or recorded it.

We had agreed to be a Nielsen ratings household for 5 years but when we switched to from cable to DirecTV they had to drop us. At the time they didn't have the equipment to monitor satellite.

It was very interesting to be part of the program and while we were in it we had to agree to not tell anyone outside of our household.
How did Nielsen get the demographic information about who in the household was viewing? How did you log if there were 45 year old females in the house watching.

From my understanding (second hand from somebody who worked closely with Nielsen), that demographic information is key. While the systems automatically record "what" is being watched (for the non-diary viewers), it still requires interaction to determine "who".
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by studbucket View Post
How did Nielsen get the demographic information about who in the household was viewing? How did you log if there were 45 year old females in the house watching.
I cannot speak to the specific equipment that the previous poster mentioned, but in general:
Quote:
Every time someone in a Nielsen household turns on a television, he or she indicates which person it is and the box tracks how long the person watches a show. Each member of a household has his or her viewing habits recorded individually, through indicating who is watching the television at any given time. If multiple people, including guests, view a program, each one enters information about his or her age and gender into the box so that the viewing habits of each person can be tracked. This viewer-specific data sets the information Nielsen records apart from data gathered by a regular cable television box.
How Do Networks Know How Many People Are Watching a TV Program?

There is no reason to think that they cannot accomplish the same end, these days, without people identifying themselves, as anyone with a Microsoft Kinect device can attest to. Perhaps that's how they're doing it: "video analytics technology".

Either that or perhaps PP's household was part of some other survey that Nielsen was doing, that didn't require specific demographics.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:08 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by bUU View Post
I cannot speak to the specific equipment that the previous poster mentioned, but in general:
How Do Networks Know How Many People Are Watching a TV Program?

There is no reason to think that they cannot accomplish the same end, these days, without people identifying themselves, as anyone with a Microsoft Kinect device can attest to. Perhaps that's how they're doing it: "video analytics technology".

Either that or perhaps PP's household was part of some other survey that Nielsen was doing, that didn't require specific demographics.

Disclaimer - I work for Microsoft. I actually work on Xbox and work with some members of the Kinect team for my features, so I am pretty familiar with the technology. I'm required to disclose this.


I would bet a pretty large amount of money that Nielsen isn't doing anything like we are planning to do with the Kinect in terms of user recognition. They may very well be planning something, but I don't believe any other companies current have consumer electronics equipment on the market *today* that does the facial recognition that Nielsen would require here.

I do believe Nielsen will work to add something like this someday, but it certainly wasn't the case for Sue J as she appeared to be Nielsen household several years ago.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:33 AM   #11
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How did Nielsen get the demographic information about who in the household was viewing? How did you log if there were 45 year old females in the house watching.

From my understanding (second hand from somebody who worked closely with Nielsen), that demographic information is key. While the systems automatically record "what" is being watched (for the non-diary viewers), it still requires interaction to determine "who".
When we signed on they were looking for a household with 2 adults and 2 kids under 18, which was what we were. It didn't matter who was watching which program, if a TV or VCR was on it was assumed that someone in the household was watching, it didn't matter who it was. When our older son left for college we told Nielsen he was away, we let them know when he came back and left again. We also let them know if we were away on vacation. They ask you not to leave a TV on if you are not in the room, like how some people leave something on all the time for background noise.

We were paid a token amount every month or quarter or bi-annual, it's been a while and I don't remember how often. It was like $1 per month per device or something small like that. We gave the kids the money for their own equipment. They also would give you a $25 one time payment if you added something like a new VCR or TV so that they could come out and wire it for monitoring.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:34 AM   #12
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I thought this would be about the declining number of folks subscribing to cable. With the escalating costs of cable, the increase in availability of high speed Internet to stream online content, with Netflix, Hulu and other online streaming available, it's harder and harder to justify $50 a month for a barebones package and $100 for a more comprehensive package.

Our problem is that our high speed internet options suck. All we have in town is AT&T DSL and they are maxed out on subscribers so we can't bring it into the parsonage. I've had to set up two wireless repeaters to get a decent whole-house wifi signal here, and the bandwidth isn't really up to reliably streaming HD content.
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:20 PM   #13
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Including two comedy news shows on that list is hilarious in itself
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:33 PM   #14
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I would bet a pretty large amount of money that Nielsen isn't doing anything like we are planning to do with the Kinect in terms of user recognition.
No doubt, but that doesn't preclude them doing lesser things to address the matter.

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They may very well be planning something, but I don't believe any other companies current have consumer electronics equipment on the market *today* that does the facial recognition that Nielsen would require here.
Hard to know, but given that they have boxes that don't require the user to identify themselves, and they generate data by demographic characteristics of the viewer, either the earlier poster was not part of the demographic survey (which I mentioned as the other possibility) or the box does have some means of identifying who is watching. Sounds like Sue J simply wasn't part of the demographic survey.
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:46 PM   #15
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Including two comedy news shows on that list is hilarious in itself
I think they're all comedy, though not particularly humorous...
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:46 PM   #16
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Thanks guys, that makes sense.

Surprised that Nielsen has "non-demographic" members, given that's the biggest part of their business and what network execs & advertisers care about.
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:52 PM   #17
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When we signed on they were looking for a household with 2 adults and 2 kids under 18, which was what we were.
Seems like a demographic to me...
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:58 PM   #18
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Seems like a demographic to me...
But not on a per-show basis. From what I understand, most Nielsen households provide data on who (age, gender) is watching exactly 1 show.

If the previously mentioned household had the dad take both kids on a fishing trip and mom decided to watch NCAA & NFL football all weekend, Nielsen wouldn't be getting accurate data about who watched those shows. No matter what was being watched, it was being attributed to 2 adults and 2 children. I don't think that makes the demographic data very trustworthy.
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:08 PM   #19
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Here's the Nielsen people meter:


It seems like Nielsen is looking at using a "Portable People Meter" now, which I think is a little weird.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_people_meter
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:38 PM   #20
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I am just thankful that even the political shows get better ratings than things like Honey Boo Boo and the other "reality" shows. I have just changed from Comcast to DirectTV so will be stuck for at least two years....but I think my TV viewing will change in 2 years enough so that I will drop everything but internet.....
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