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Television The Internet Technology

Nielsen Ratings To Count Online TV Viewing 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-yet-bad dept.
cashman73 writes "Several sources are reporting that Nielsen is finally going to start measuring online TV viewing. You would think that this is a good idea, since many people are now watching TV programs on the Internet. However, there's a catch: Nielsen's new service will only count viewings of a program with the same number of advertisements as the network TV model. So, this immediately eliminates Hulu, as well as any shows watched via the network's own websites. As a matter of fact, it would currently only include Comcast's XFinity TV service, and TV Everywhere (which, so far, appears to be the equivalent of Duke Nukem Forever for television). So either, (a) everyone will rush out to watch their online TV on Comcast XFinity, so that their viewing counts in the ratings (unlikely), or (b) Hulu and everyone else starts to put more advertisements on their shows (more likely, but would also probably mean the death of Hulu)."
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Nielsen Ratings To Count Online TV Viewing

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  • Nielsen Ratings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @11:48AM (#30906164)
    I guess Conan should have had more commercials.
  • true (Score:3, Funny)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@nOSpaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @11:51AM (#30906212) Homepage
    You would think that this is a good idea

    I probably would, if I cared in the slightest about the subject.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by KharmaWidow (1504025)

      I care about the subject because Nielsen Ratings are the industry standard - for good or for bad. It is way too often that good shows are canceled in favor of bad ones when Nielsen doesn't have significant ratings for them (ie Firefly). Yet these shows have proven to be hugely popular online.

      Plus, the fact that they are limiting to shows with 3 min advertising blocks may doom the online model of much shorter intervals. Nielsen is intentionally overlooking an ample data source from sites like Hulu and the n

  • Wake me up when... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anita Coney (648748) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @11:52AM (#30906222) Homepage

    ...they count bittorrent views.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MrEricSir (398214)

      Trust me, viewing a .torrent file isn't very interesting.

    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      Why would they count bittorrent views? Nielsen Ratings is information for advertisers. TV shows in bittorrent files almost always have advertisers removed. It makes no sense for Nielsen Ratings to carry those statistics.

      • by jebrew (1101907) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @01:35PM (#30907712)
        because if they saw the number of people viewing this way, they might (as in unicorns exist kinda might) start releasing their own high quality downloads with the ads in them...hell, I'd watch the ads just because I'm too lazy to skip past them.
        • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... x.com minus berr> on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @07:08PM (#30911952) Homepage

          I will second this completely.

          I download TV illegally. But, first, let me explain what I won't do:
          a) I'm not paying for shitty cable and for a TiVo when I already have computer hooked to my TV. Hell, technically, I do have free basic cable, and it's so poor I don't even have it actually hooked to my TV.
          b) I don't really have enough bandwidth to stream. I get about 150kps download. That's really the lowest quality I can stand, too, so it works out to a minute of downloading per minute of video...which means that all streaming jumps to a lower quality, because that's too close to comfort. And forget about the higher quality stuff.
          c) I want to control the entire thing with my remote control, and the streaming sites seem intent on not functioning in any HTPC interface anyway. (And I'm not sure how hacking hulu to watch in Boxee is somehow more 'moral' than just downloading the show.)
          d) I am not paying for my TV shows in cash, hence I won't use iTunes. I will, like the rest of the world, pay in for TV in commercials. (When I pay in cash, I expect DVDs.) I won't promise to buy anything, but that never was part of the deal. And I'm really too lazy to bother with skipping them.

          I'm not trying to morally justify anything, or claim I have the right to TV, I'm simply stating my situation, and stating as a member of the American people, I will watch TV. So I can either download TV illegally, or I can...um...hmmm...have no TV.

          You give me a torrent I can download legally, I'm there.

          I'd especially be there if you'd encrypt the episodes so I could download them in advance, and give me the key when they aired. I just mention that because that's how they should attract current illegal downloaders. Right now, it's end of episode+10 minutes+download time to watch. Let people have a download list, let them download the previous night, and then give them the key at the moment of airing. Unlike DRM, that actually could work with reasonable encryption, and lets people watch very high quality stuff even over bad connections. (Hell, you could technically watch about 5 hours a week over dialup, which would be helpful for people with basic cable who want to watch one or two other shows.)

          But all this is, of course, crazy talk. If they provide digital downloads that people can actually download, why, people will download them, cut the commercials out, and redistribute them. (Which is a bit like worrying about someone breaking into your car by picking the trunk lock, when all actual thieves spend 30 seconds with a slim jim and get in from the doors.)

  • What is the point? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by capt.Hij (318203) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @11:52AM (#30906226) Homepage Journal

    Why do they insist on only measuring "full length" media. They will make themselves obsolete if they insist on measuring the way old media works. Related to that sentiment they forgot option "c," keep on ignoring the ratings and do what you like not what they want us to do.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @12:42PM (#30906962) Journal
      Studios keep making bad business decisions based on Nielsen ratings. They cancel shows with low ratings even when the DVD sales alone are enough to make a profit on the show. Rather than make the next season straight-to-DVD, they don't make it at all.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EzInKy (115248)


        Studios keep making bad business decisions based on Nielsen ratings. They cancel shows with low ratings even when the DVD sales alone are enough to make a profit on the show. Rather than make the next season straight-to-DVD, they don't make it at all.

        That's because they haven't yet learned that their current advertising methods are actually hurting viewership. I've bought quite a few DVD sets just so I don't have to suffer the bottom of the screen "popups" that seem to be the current fad nowadays. And you k

        • I was watching TV for the first time in about a year (outside of sports) with a friend of mine the other day. I couldn't believe how bad cable now is. I had been considering hooking my TV back up, but a couple hours at her house, and I was well convinced not to.

          The internet TV I watch isn't much worse quality, and it's mostly content. I can't fathom how it would be worth paying $50 a month for that. I'm much more inclined to hook a spare system up to my TV now, and watch TV that way. It has the ben

      • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... x.com minus berr> on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @07:34PM (#30912154) Homepage

        No shit.

        Ratings were important when it was 'Which of these shows will take up valuable time on the channel?' We even talked about 'prime time'. If one show was making a profit of $500,000 an episode, and you thought a different one could make $600,000, sure, cancel the first.

        But it's goddamn stupid when you stop living in the idiotic 'broadcast TV' world. You should make both shows. In fact, you should make anything that makes you money, or at least has a reasonable chance of doing so. Because it makes you money. I cannot stress the whole 'it makes you money' concept enough.

        The sad thing is, TV networks already know about this. It was 'syndication' long before DVDs came out, wherein TV studios make shows without having a network committed to buying them. Although that market was a lot smaller, and shows had to be very low-budget to make a profit on just that.

        Bu they already had the model. They should have logically been able to make the leap to DVDs.

        A lot of the problem is how TV studios are structured. Everyone wants 'their own' shows to be wildly successful, so a) often don't care about show they get handed by other people, and b) don't care about 'small' money makers they have. (And, of course, apparently corporations have no fiscal responsibility to their stockholders, you know, actually make that $500,000.)

        Everything is all about who is credited for the next big hit. No one actually cares who makes money. Film studios are completely dysfunctional.

        The future is looking good, though. We've had independent film makers for quite some time, despite there being less stupidity in the film industry...and we're just starting to get independent 'TV studios' as it requires less and less upfront costs for equipment and whatnot.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)

          I wish one of the producers like JMS or Joss Whedon, who produces popular shows but has a terrible relationship with the studios, would strike out on their own. Release pilots to the public. Tell everyone to share them as widely as possible. If you like it, invest $10 in the show. If enough people invest, the first season gets made. It's released on the Internet with a CC-NC-SA license and you're asked to share it with everyone. It's also sold on DVDs and to any TV networks that want to run it, for pe

    • by cashman73 (855518)
      So, would option "d" be: "do whatever CowboyNeal wants us to do"?
    • by linguizic (806996)
      This leaves room for some enterprising individuals to come up with their own ratings that better meet the needs of today's media.
  • Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by loftwyr (36717) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @11:52AM (#30906230)

    After all, Nielsen reports ratings so that shows can sell more advertising. If the show you're watching doesn't have the same number of ads, then it's useless in terms of advertising sales as it's not apples to apples.

    Nobody in advertising cares if 500,000,000 people watch a show if no ads were seen.

    • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kannibal_klown (531544) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @11:59AM (#30906328)

      After all, Nielsen reports ratings so that shows can sell more advertising. If the show you're watching doesn't have the same number of ads, then it's useless in terms of advertising sales as it's not apples to apples.

      Nobody in advertising cares if 500,000,000 people watch a show if no ads were seen.

      True, I can see where they're coming from. However I would imagine counting online views as a portion/percentage.

      For example a typical show on Hulu has the same number of commercial breaks as the broadcast equivalent, but maybe 1/5 of the total commercials. IE, for every break there's usually a single 15-60 second commercial (averaging around 30 seconds a piece). So maybe count 5 Hulu viewings as 1 Nielson viewing.

      Then you have paid online content... if an obscene number of viewers are paying iTunes for Show X then that should somehow be aggragated with ratings. After all, the network just received a chunk of change from those sales.

      • by kalirion (728907)

        Different shows have on TV have different number of commercials too. I remember Fringe having only 60-90 second commercial breaks. How can Nielsen have ratings for Fringe then, compared to American Idle etc?

        • by DavidTC (10147)

          In fact, this is somewhat backwards of 'not counting'.

          If I was an advertiser, and two TV shows had the same ratings and audience, but one had half the commercial time of the other, I'd try to get into that one, assuming the same price.

          Why? Well, people are less likely to skip ads when they are shorter. Seems obvious to me.

          OTOH, it might not be the same price...commercials cost more at the start and end of the break, and less in the middle, I believe, and a show with less commercials might not have a midd

      • Actually, counting it as a percent is idiotic. If you have 1000 viewings of a show with 1 commercial, and a 1000 viewings of a show with 50 commercials... which show has better commercial coverage?

        The one with 1 commercial. Scarcity increases value. I watch every commercial that pops up on hulu. I watch 5 seconds of commercials on TV.

    • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ktappe (747125) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @12:02PM (#30906384)

      Nobody in advertising cares if 500,000,000 people watch a show if no ads were seen.

      They do if ads can be added to the show in the future. I'd be very interested in such data if I were searching for a place to stick an ad. I'd be especially interested if I could be the only ad in the show, so my ad would stick out instead of being lost among the others. As such, I think Nielsen is being moronic here--advertisers on limited-ad broadcasts should be eager for such data and therefore so should the content producers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mounthood (993037)
        Bittorrent should be counted for the another reason: if someone is taking the time to download it we can be very sure they are watching it, unlike the TV show that may be on without anybody paying attention. Turing that interest into revenue is still a challenge, but it's not made harder by counting torrents; it wouldn't condone or justify torrents only make the rating numbers more accurate.
    • It makes sense only in a short-sighted way. It's ridiculous to assume programs will be shown online with the same exact ads to all audiences. The presentation of content must be adapted to the medium if there is any hope that it is to be successful.

    • Nobody in advertising cares if 500,000,000 people watch a show if no ads were seen.

      Yes, but advertising cares if Heroes has 1 million watching the regular broadcast... But 5 million watching on a website that servers a single ad right before the broadcast commences.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by FlyingBishop (1293238)

      Bull. I straight up do not see (or hear) half of the ads that come up on television.

      Most ads on Hulu, by contrast, I do see. So ignoring Hulu is ridiculous.

    • by smartr (1035324)
      I doubt they're doing anything to measure DVR use, which is now widely deployed and used to skip ads. Short of live events, I bet you will find that a large portion of tv viewers record the shows they regularly watch (which are the ones getting the ratings).
      • Tivo keeps track of this information, and they sell it directly. There's no percentage for Neilsen. Tivo will even tell advertisers how many people watched vs. skipped their ads.

        It's possible that Hulu et. al. want to keep their data to sell themselves, so they don't give it to Nielsen.
      • If I was Nielsen, I'd want to know the viewing habits for everything that was connected to a TV. DVR, Blu-Ray, XBox, even old VHS tapes... if they're watching it, I'd want to record that information to know to provide to my clients. That way, they know where ads are being viewed and where they are not.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tomuo (1612733)
        Wrong. TIVO has had a relationship with Neilsen for a few years already. When I had a TIVO, they asked me if I wanted to be a Neilsen TIVO user, which I agreed to. TIVO updated the OS to a special version shortly after. The usual Neilsen behaviour rules applied: please use the TIVO remote to turn the TV set on and off so they don't count the time playing to an empty audience.
      • by yuna49 (905461)

        And you'd be wrong. They measure DVR usage the same way they measure every other medium connected to a TV including video games. They only count playback, of course, not recording, since advertisers only care about viewers.

    • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nightsweat (604367) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @12:09PM (#30906514)
      Not really. fewer ads in a Hulu broadcast might be worth more as far as the depth of impression made. If you watch "Accidentally on Purpose" on TV, you might watch it because you like Jenna Elfman and think the show is funny. Or, you might just happen to be killing time between "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Big Bang Theory". Neilsen can't tell.

      If, however, you watch Accidentally on Purpose on Hulu, it's because you want to watch Accidentally on Purpose. The ads that are targeted to that crowd are more narrowly and more properly targeted to you the Hulu viewer and shoudl be be more valuable per impression.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by AP31R0N (723649)

        Clever using Accidentally on Purpose to describe whether someone watched it accidentally or on purpose. i'll throw you some karma elsewhere.

        Companies selling products (all companies) need to fire Nielsen. The smart folk are ditching cable and going to Hulu and the like.

        • Smart people don't buy everything they see on TV. Neilsen doesn't want to focus on that audience, and neither do advertisers.

        • The smart folk are ditching cable and going to Hulu and the like.

          That's while Nielsen isn't bothering counting Hulu views. It's very hard to sell useless products to smart people...

    • If there are no ads at all, and no intent on introducing ads in the future, then yes, Nielson should not count them because the whole point of the Nielsen ratings is to set advertising prices for a given slot. But Hulu does show ads, even though it is not as many as regular broadcast. So how do we set the price for those ad slots? Should the Hulu ad be cheaper or more expensive than the broadcast TV ad? This is an important question that needs to be answered. If more people are watching the online vers

    • Not as much sell more advertising but sell advertising for more.

    • by Reason58 (775044)
      That only makes sense if you consider a "commercial" to be the only form of advertisement possible. Given the magic of the internet, there are all sorts of things you can do. Mandatory ads before the show starts. Banners. In-show product placement. Close tie-ins to other web sites are easily facilitated. Etc. I think it is quite telling of the industry in general that they cannot fathom anything that hasn't been done for the last 60 years already.
    • by Coopjust (872796)
      So why not make the "classic" Nielsen rating and one for "online" or "alternate presentation"?
    • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Rich0 (548339) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @12:39PM (#30906928) Homepage

      I think it depends on what you're using the metrics for. I'd argue that they should collect everything, and then categorize it appropriately.

      For example, suppose Hulu announces that they'll take one high-cost ad per show. Suddenly advertisers will want to know what their market share is and all that.

      On the other hand, when networks decide what shows to cancel - they don't care about how many people watch the show on mediums other than their own, regardless of whether they have ads or not.

      I suspect that the reason that Neilsen is doing what it is doing is that it is because it is what their customers are looking for. When Hulu pitches their online service to an ad agency they don't need Neilsen to tell them how many people are watching their shows - they already collect that stuff on their own.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by coolsnowmen (695297)

        When Hulu pitches their online service to an ad agency they don't need Neilsen to tell them how many people are watching their shows - they already collect that stuff on their own.

        Insightful

        Said another way, why would Neilsen spend money to estimate the number of viewers of hulu when hulu already knows exactly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Nobody in advertising cares if 500,000,000 people watch a show if no ads were seen.

      Wrong. They care because that's where the next opportunities to sell ads are.

      I don't understand Neilsen's plan. How will advertisers know where their ads *should* go, if they don't have all the numbers.

    • After all, Nielsen reports ratings so that shows can sell more advertising.

      Yeah, but there's a problem in that Nielsen ratings get treated like the end-all and be-all measurement of a show's popularity and profitability. It's the same problem with a lot of standardized tests-- they evaluate for one specific set of things, which is fine, but then they get applied much more broadly than is applicable.

      So if you're an advertiser who wants to place an ad on TV, then web views are fairly irrelevant. However, if your an advertiser who wants to place an ad on Hulu, then these Nielsen r

    • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jayme0227 (1558821) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @12:59PM (#30907252) Journal

      Actually, many television shows are moving towards product placement instead of traditional advertising. Most companies understand that the normal TV model is a thing of the past, considering that many people have DVRs and now stream TV online.

      If you have ever seen the show "Chuck" on NBC, you would see quite a bit of this. For one, part of the show often takes place in an electronics retail store which allows considerable ads to be placed around the store in the form of cardboard cutouts and product displays. Video games are often topics for conversation, including major promotions from Call of Duty and Madden NFL 10 being incorporated (extremely cleverly, I might add) into the storyline. In addition to video games and cars (which have been doing product placement for years), Subway has stated that their product placement with Chuck was one of their most successful ad partnerships ever.

      Now, as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter whether Nielsen includes steaming content in their ratings. Any network that streams its own shows should have access to their data without a problem, and if Hulu doesn't already provide this data back to the networks, I doubt it would make much for them to do so. Any ad exec that still bases his decisions solely on Nielsen ratings at this point doesn't deserve his job.

      PS. Watch Chuck. It's a fantastically done spy comedy that always finds its way to cleverly tell a story, even if its premise is a bit old. (Unwitting everyman accidentally gains "superpowers" and must learn to become a hero.)

  • Why do you say this? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IANAAC (692242) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @11:53AM (#30906242)

    (b) Hulu and everyone else starts to put more advertisements on their shows (more likely, but would also pro

    For those of us with no cable and using only digital OTA, Hulu (and other online sites) replace a DVR. And I think we'd be willing to sit through commercials.

    Call me cheap, but I would, at least.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by RCGodward (1235102)
      I wonder about this. I don't watch Hulu because it has fewer commercials or because I don't have cable. I watch Hulu because I miss a show and need to catch up, or I want to show someone the return of the Masturbating Bear. Every time Hulu thinks about adding a few more commercials I hear doom and gloom about the death of the site, but I really don't care all that much. I can't imagine I'm alone.
    • by ChipMonk (711367)
      We're not alone in that. I don't even have decent digital OTA. When I visit my parents, I watch House and reruns of Firefly. The former is the only show in current lineups that I'd watch; it isn't worth it to me, to buy a telly for one show. The latter isn't available on broadcast OR cable anymore.
    • For some people, sure, but they could potentially lose a lot of viewers as well. Hulu currently hosts a surprisingly huge amount of anime. This, however, makes sense, since Japanese animation studios tend not to be so uptight about copyright issues and so there are at least 10 streaming versions of every major anime in existence on a site somewhere... Hulu offers a stable, consistently high-quality video in return for 1 minute or two of commercials per episode, so the company can make advertising money out

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rutefoot (1338385)
      Here in Canada we don't even get Hulu. For me, I would not care in the slightest if online shows contained the same number of advertisements as broadcast TV if it means we were actually allowed to watch it. I would love the opportunity to be able to watch a streaming show without having to deal with the unreliability and sketchiness of less than official streaming video sites.

      One other thing that I don't think was mentioned is the ability for online sites to very easily offer advertisements targetted
    • I wouldn't. I don't have any broadcast TV anymore, and I've found that I watch more shows now than I did before. I only watch things that are streamed on iPlayer (no ads), rented on DVD (no ads), or streamed from the company I rent DVDs from (also no ads). I'm quite willing to pay for the content, but I'm not willing to watch ads. I strongly suspect that the amount that I pay per show is more than the amount advertisers pays per viewer, but the studios still remain fixated on the idea that a show is onl
  • Into a trilobite, unfortunately.

    It's inevitable really, since Neilsen's customers are advertising execs. Neilsen don't want to tell them that fewer and fewer people are seeing their ads, and the advertising execs definitely don't want that news getting out - that would be a strictly career limiting move.

    • It's inevitable really, since Neilsen's customers are advertising execs. Neilsen don't want to tell them that fewer and fewer people are seeing their ads

      You really think you are seeing fewer ads? Than the people watching on television, sure. But as DVRs and Hulu eliminate seperate ads, product placements rise. And astroturfing. And sending hot girls into bars to order specific liquors.

      I would rather their limited advertising budget was spent on obvious ads, and would be willing to endure more explicit a

      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        OK, you watch the obvious ads, I'll go and hang out in bars where hot girls are being paid to get drunk.

        • Well, they are getting paid to get you to buy them drinks. So, you get to pay to talk to a hot girl who wasn't even interested in the drink you bought her, let alone you. To wit, she'll probably ditch it as soon as you aren't looking. Sounds good man!

          Sometimes, they are out in the open and giving away free beer. I like those nights.

          • by Rogerborg (306625)
            You know what chicks totally flip for? When you point out their factual errors. They just can't get enough of that.
            • You know what chicks totally flip for? When you point out their factual errors. They just can't get enough of that.

              Are you a chick?

              Am I trying to fuck you?

              Then I'm going to continue point out your factual errors. I'll also be point out your inferred errors. See this post for an example.

    • Trilobites existed way before dinosaurs, not after.

      Trilobite [wikipedia.org]

  • Because then Nielson could put together a ratings list that shows ratings based on the amount of advertising. I won't lie, like most people one of the reasons I prefer watching TV through alternate means is to avoid the advertising. Yet I don't require zero advertising. There is a level of advertising that's more acceptable.

    With this information, networks could find out how LESS advertising could generate more views. As a result, they could offer scaled advertising rates to advertisers based on the numb

  • by GreyyGuy (91753)

    Why should Hulu add more commercials? If they are viable as it is, wht do they care for Neilson? Neilson is there to help sell ads by giving a value to TV shows. If Hulu doesn't need that many ads why should they annoy their viewers to help an unrelated service?

  • Like it or not "free" television shows are advertising supported. Having a real way to measure how many people are watching online will finally give legitimacy to online advertising in streaming video and will help ad rates significantly. I know everyone likes free and hates advertising but in a medium like that there is no other way around it beyond pay per view or a wealthy benefactor who doesn't mind the idea of throwing away cash to entertain the masses.

    There will be benefits to consumers as well, mor

  • I'm going to miss TV, at least a little bit. I calculated that if I connect my macMini to my TV, I can do practically everything I'm doing now with cable and Tivo -- but at $50 less per month.

    There are a few drawbacks, of course. Live sporting events and knowing the exact location of the nearest tornado, to name a couple. But I almost never watch sports, and the radio can suffice when it comes to severe weather. Ultimately, these things just aren't worth the $100+ per month that I'm paying for my "bundl

    • by hoggoth (414195)

      > Flopping down on the couch and turning on the TV to "see what's on" are going to become a thing of the past at my house.

      If if if if and if.

      What are you waiting for? We did it two years ago and we've never been happier. My family spends a lot more time doing things together now, we play board games, we read a lot, we cook more instead of ordering in, we go outside and do things. You have no idea how much of your time the TV sucks up.

      You probably feel like you don't have enough time to do all the thing y

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Nevermind a couple of years a go.

        Some of us fled "normal TV" over 10 years ago. '-p

        Being liberated from broadcast schedules is a sublime thing.

    • Live sporting events and knowing the exact location of the nearest tornado, to name a couple.

      Couldn't that be covered with a $10 antenna and, if necissary, a $30 converter box?

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        ...like analog TV before: it all depends on how lucky you are and how good your signal is.

        A $10 antenna probably isn't going to cut it.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Live sporting events and knowing the exact location of the nearest tornado

      You can see the live sporting events at your local bar, and for tornados there's www.weather.com (the weather channel web site). It works well on a phone as well as a computer, even the radar maps.

  • Unlike traditional TV where you need ratings like Nielsen, to get advertisers, Hulu could just show the traffic that comes to their site.
    • I don't use Hulu, but if they have something like Google analytics included in their script soup then they can also create a detailed demographic profile of their viewers rather than just processing their own logs. That's something Nielsen can't do. If I were an advertiser I would be willing to pay a little premium for better targeted ads shown to only the eyeballs most likely respond to them. For instance, it's wasteful to advertise women's products to men. If I had 100% confidence in the gender of a viewe

  • So either, (a) everyone will rush out to watch their online TV on Comcast XFinity, so that their viewing counts in the ratings (unlikely), or (b) Hulu and everyone else starts to put more advertisements on their shows (more likely, but would also probably mean the death of Hulu)."

    Or (c), Nielsen Ratings begin to lose their importance, clout, and influence over the next few years.

  • the content providers add another line to their pitch sheets... "While 'Ten Million Gorillas in a Bus' had a Nielsen of 10.2, there were also 4,320,000 Hulu viewings." whether any ads ever show up on Hulu or not, they can still reinforce the show's pull.

  • Worthless Media (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StormReaver (59959) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @12:42PM (#30906972)

    My most recent cable TV outage started me thinking about televised entertainment in general. I still remember when cable TV was highly desirable because it didn't have any commercials. Then commercials made occasional appearances in some shows, obviously a trial balloon to measure customer opposition. Then commercials quickly became as prevalent on cable as they were on broadcast TV.

    I have been using MythTV for a couple years, and it's been fantastic. I haven't had to sit through a full commercial in that time, and I'd been loving cable TV again. While I fast-forward through commercials (automatic commercial skip is too unreliable), I sometimes saw something that grabbed my attention. In those cases, I usually watched at least a part of the commercial, and discovered a new product. Most often, though, I saved myself centuries (qualitatively speaking) of agony by not having to watch them.

    When I got engaged, she and I had better things to do with our time than watch TV. Three weeks into our first month together, I realized that I hadn't missed TV at all, but was still paying $60/month for something I hardly used. I called Mediacom (the local cable company), and canceled the "service" last week.

    At the same time, I subscribed to Netflix. For a fraction of the cost of cable, I have a vast choice of movies, a much smaller monthly bill, more reliable service, and a much happier experience overall experience.

    When I first tried Hulu, it was an okay service. I had to sit through a couple 7-10 second commercials every half hour, but that wasn't too intolerable. Then Hulu started lengthening the commercials to 30 seconds. It was still not terribly intolerable, because there was usually only one of them every half hour. Then I started seeing two appear every half hour, and it became clear to me which direction Hulu was headed, so I stopped watching Hulu.

    I'm at a point now where I watch TV only during tornadic weather, and only to watch the news coverage to track the storms. My fiancé and I watch one movie a night in bed before going to sleep, and that's it. We have freed ourselves from television, and we have advertisers' greed to thank for that. We don't miss TV one bit.

    So, Nielson won't count online TV viewing unless its riddled with commercials. If Hulu ever starts to be counted, you can be sure that it has become a worthless service. As far as I'm concerned, it has already become a worthless service.

    • We'll see (Score:3, Insightful)

      by markdowling (448297)

      "We have freed ourselves from television, and we have advertisers' greed to thank for that. We don't miss TV one bit"

      When it comes to fiancehood, past performance is not an indicator of future returns.

  • We are in desperate need of a refresh in how shows are rated. Networks rely on these statistics because they are the only thing they have to show to advertisers. With more TV viewing going online, a key demographic is not being represented fairly and as a result all of my favorite shows keep getting canceled. Arrested development, Firefly, etc. I think if demographics that view this content heavily online were counted, they would not have been so easy to cancel these shows.

    This move is at least a step i

    • by nsayer (86181)

      Networks rely on these statistics because they are the only thing they have to show to advertisers.

      But the advertisers are only interested in statistics that involve viewers who view their ads. That's why Neilsen doesn't include TiVo and online viewing in the surveys.

      I think if demographics that view this content heavily online were counted, they would not have been so easy to cancel these shows.

      If the online viewership were able to pay as much as traditional advertising does, you'd have a decent argument.

  • Took an online survey about a year ago from Nielsen , first thing it wanted to do was download some software, an exe IIRC.
    a no-go on linux.
    I tried the survey in a VM windows instance and of course the file down loaded. Never did try too hard to find out what the
    exe did, really didn't care that much, just reset the VM.

    I have always assumed it was to measure my video viewing habits, but who knows?

  • No-one cares, people keep watching the services that they want to watch, the services keep making money through whatever channels they've always made, the content providers keep selling their content to whoever is dragging in the traffic?

    Also, who is this Nielsen?

  • We will see 'blipverts' before long in this Network 23-like [wikipedia.org] world.
  • Great. Maybe now the dumbasses at NBC will take their stuff off Hulu, so I can watch it from outside the US, I always thought the US networks should make their shows available vie internet and sell targeted advertising embedded in the same video stream as the shows. Obviously ads for car dealerships in the US wouldn't be interesting to people in other countries, nor would those dealerships be all that interested in getting access to my eyes in a foreign country, but through the magic of teh intarwebz, th

  • The dirty little secret in TV is that you, the viewer, are not the customer. You're the product being sold. The advertiser is the customer. Neilsen conducts its measurements in order to discern how many people are exposed to the ads. That's why they leave out TiVo and online viewers - because the advertisers don't want to pay for those viewers, since they get no benefit from their viewing.

It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet

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