While lacking perhaps the historical significance of the transition between Charles VI and Charles the VII in 15th century France, the U.S. television audience measurement industry is nonetheless bound by the same fate, I fear -- uninterrupted succession. The demise of the small sample, the 60-year-old foundation upon which television audience ratings were built, has been all but guaranteed by Comcast's and Time Warner's support of CableLabs' Canoe project.
And the only reason I say that is because I am extremely interested in the viewing paths of television watchers. Why? Because there's probably no real rhyme or reason to how people "discover" content -- except for the dialogue that goes on in their head, which cannot be tracked.
The answer to the question above is -- in short - probably not. At least not for now. But an initiative by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation points to a future scenario where a little innovation and a willingness to think outside the box may shake things up a little.
Recently, there has been a spate of articles written about the mysteriously shrouded Project Canoe, a subterranean, though visible, cable systems operators' joint venture that surfaces periodically, in trade periodicals -- the first sighting, to my knowledge, in The Wall Street Journal at the close of September 2007 -- only to surreptitiously submerge again until the next press sighting, appearing sporadically ever since. Perhaps Winston Churchill said it best (October 1939): "I cannot forecast to you the action of [the cable Industry]. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma but perhaps there is a key. That ...
In an unauthorized and completely biased plug for this blog, I must admit that I have been amazed at the sheer number of emails and calls I have received over the last few weeks. While the subject matter has been as diverse as the location of the people sending the messages -- Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Christchurch, New Zealand; Victoria, Australia; Ahmadabad, India; Santiago, Chile -- the most common question from those outside the United States has mirrored that from those in this country, "Can you please explain set-top-box data to me?"
If you are one who believes the future of commercial communications is just about digital, interactive new media, your thinking is already out of date. It's time to go back to basics and reexamine the evidence for conventional television.
So, I have spent the last couple of weeks talking with people on the Left Coast, and I have discovered something very interesting: evidently New York doesn't matter to the TV and film world. Okay, maybe not quite that it doesn't matter -- but it is small beans. The perception is that no one of prominence or importance is in New York, that somehow, there just isn't enough business here. So, in the spirit of refreshing everyone's memory, I present my official Why New York Isn't Some Barren Entertainment Wasteland....
The out-of-home video market has heated up significantly over the last couple of years, and continues to accelerate. Scarcely a week goes by without a slew of announcements regarding new initiatives in the space. Indeed, it's becoming hard to think of places where one has no chance of encountering some sort of video-based media experience.
The other day, while convalescing from a cold, I caught an early morning Turner Classic Movie broadcast of "The Real Glory," a black-and-white, action and adventure film set in 1906, in the Philippines....
I had a very interesting conversation the other day with an industry veteran regarding the state of the television audience measurement industry. The conversation began innocently with concerns about set-top-box data, each of which I answered simply and directly. After 30 minutes, he had nothing more to say. When I suggested counting one in five anonymous households and mathematically inferring demographic attributes would be a more acceptable solution than projecting from a small panel, he became quite agitated. "The panel is the only acceptable solution," he cried. "No other approach allows us to taste the soup!"