Commentary

Nielsen's Same-Day Decision: All Politics Are Local, All Ratings Are Time-Shifted

  • by , Featured Contributor, November 20, 2009
The news that Nielsen plans to do away with local live audience ratings, replacing them with live-plus-same-day ratings, has the basic impact of moving the minimum. We will no longer have a "lowest common denominator" of viewing for a program, as we will no longer have any way of telling any non-time-shifted viewing on a local basis. There will, in essence, be no zero-base. All comparisons will have to assume an inestimable amount of time-shifting in the viewing average. There has been a rather strong outcry among the agency community against this particularly partisan move since the announcement was made.

To illustrate the impact of such a decision, here are some analogous metaphors that could apply:

Taking coins out of circulation. Sure, there have been discussions to stop production of pennies for a long time now, but why stop there? Most purchases that are made are at least a dollar. We should just make that official. That's not to say that nothing is worth less than a dollar -- we're just saying that nothing can be worth less than a dollar.

All A18-49 ratings will be solely based upon W35-49. They're the ones really watching the programming, anyway, right?

All Powerpoint charts must start with 20 as their base on the "Y" axis. Most things don't go much below that anyway, so that will just make those relationships look that much stronger. Unless you plan to chart program ratings, which would then naturally result in a blank chart.

The maximum amount of water in a pool for the high dive will now be reduced to 3 feet, to discourage drowning.

Runners will need to get to the halfway point between bases to be considered safe; first downs will now be 7 yards. All basketball games will start with the score tied at 92 with two minutes to go on the game clock.

From this point forward, all playground comparisons will begin with "...infinity plus 1," instead of ending with it.

At the zoo, the 200-foot steel fence across the front of the enclosure should be 190 feet. The pride usually doesn't go past the plants that are there anyway, so that should be plenty of fence.

All personal income tax rates will be based upon a time-shifted system, whereby your overall tax burden for the year will be calculated based upon the combined spending for all the television commercials you've consumed within the previous calendar year. The more you time-shift, the higher your tax rate. Your personal contribution minimum is 40% of your gross, rounded to the nearest dollar -- there are no more coins in circulation anymore, remember?

2 comments about "Nielsen's Same-Day Decision: All Politics Are Local, All Ratings Are Time-Shifted ".
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  1. Bill West from Comcast Spotlight, November 20, 2009 at 9:33 a.m.

    Hey, that basketball games idea isn't bad... as to the rest, I thought only Congress could make decisions this dumb.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 20, 2009 at 10:09 a.m.

    A long time ago, someone told me that in professional basketball both teams should be given 100 points and five minutes. Ahead of their time?

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