• Set-Top-Box Lexicon: Commercial Avoidance
    DVR penetration is approaching critical mass. A large part of the hand-wringing over DVR roll-out is the fear of increased opportunities for consumer commercial avoidance. In the past, viewers could avoid ads by multitasking, muting via their remote or even leaving the room. Now, with relative ease, viewers can use their DVRs to skip commercials by fast-forwarding through them in trick play (Set-Top-Box Lexicon: Trick Play) mode. Not all trick play is commercial avoidance, but the ease and facility of the DVR trick-play capability arguably contributes to it. Here are some terms and definitions concerning commercial avoidance:
  • More Noteworthy Series From 2011 You Won't See On Other 10 Best Lists
    Following last week's column, here are five more noteworthy series from 2011 that aren't going to turn up on very many (if any) Top 10 lists.
  • Looking Back, Forging Ahead
    'Tis the season for wistful recollections about the year past and shining optimism about what the future might bring. For me it is, anyway. Looking back, it's been another roller coaster of a year in television. A few highlights:
  • Noteworthy Series of 2011 You Won't See On Other 10 Best Lists
    It's that time of year, when television critics everywhere reveal their annual 10 Best lists. Mine will be along in a couple of weeks. Before then, here's the first installment in a my look back at 10 significant shows you likely won't see championed in anyone's "Best of" columns.
  • Set-Top-Box Lexicon: Targeting Or Segmentation
    Over the past few weeks, we have examined many privacy-related terms and definitions, including Anonymization, Encryption and PII. This week we examine Targeting and one of its corollaries, Segmentation.
  • More Second Thoughts On Set-Top-Box Measurement
    As I discussed in last week's column, despite numerous technological and methodological drawbacks, the idea of using set-top boxes to derive "currency" ratings continues to be popular in the television industry. Specifically I opined that set-top-box measurement would be less accurate on a national level than Nielsen's National People Meter sample and predicted that set-top boxes would not be used to develop national ratings for a long time, if ever. This week I'm looking at the prospect of using set-top boxes to measure local markets, where the need for a new kind of measurement is more obvious and urgent.
  • 'One Life to Live' Reflects On Its Own Demise
    ABC Daytime's "One Life to Life," a show with more creative energy coursing through it than much of what passes for bigger-budget prime-time fare, won't breathe its last until Jan. 13, but the show is already giving itself a grand send-off with a storyline that has shaken many of its characters to the core.
  • Set-Top-Box Lexicon: Encryption
    We have spent the last few weeks reviewing terms associated with anonymization and privacy. Data points can be hashed and de-identified (Set-Top-Box Lexicon: Types of Anonymization). Another way to insure privacy is to only allow certain users to access certain levels of information. Encryption is a gate key method used in Set-Top-Box data, which restricts data access to a select group or to a specific person.
  • Who's Right About The Future Of On-Screen Media?
    When it comes to a discussion of the future of on-screen video, there are generally areas of agreement among the various constituencies. One is that the landscape is in constant flux, creating changes to the business model and market uncertainties. Another is that technology forms the playing field. But overall agreement of its future impact on the industry and the consumer mindset may end there. December's OnScreen Media Summit in New York helped highlight the various issues, bringing together many industry experts in the space.
  • Second Thoughts On Set-Top-Box Measurement
    For more than half a decade, many in the TV industry have looked forward to set-top-box measurement as an elixir that would deliver better TV ratings. The theory is that if Nielsen or another ratings company could extract viewing information from the millions of set-top boxes already installed in viewers' homes, the larger sample size would deliver more accurate -- or at least more stable -- ratings. I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but I don't think we are going to get true "currency" measurement from set-top boxes for a long time -- if ever. Set-top boxes can …
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