Can't help but Tweet or post about your favorite TV shows? You (and me) are contributing to changing TV times...
For decades, advertisers, programmers, and the media have referred to Nielsen ratings to measure the number of people watching television shows. For those of you who don't know, FYI: Nielsen uses statistical sampling to estimate the number of viewers in the country that are watching a particular show. Advertisers rely on Nielsen’s data to determine rates to pay TV programmers to air their commercials. Networks renew and cancel shows based on Nielsen's results.
As technological advancements continually transform the way people are able to view shows the Nielsen rating model faces the challenge of fairly reflecting and keeping up with a changing television industry. Attitudes towards the success of a show, as defined by Nielsen ratings, are changing for broadcast, basic cable, and premium cable as programmers can directly connect with viewers. Programmers must acknowledge and respond to the unconventional frequencies by which people now view shows and give feedback, including Netflix, time-shifting devices, and Twitter. While Nielsen ratings may be replaced by innovative social media outlets, which offer insight into viewership that ordinary channel screening data can’t reveal, the rating model retains a crucial role in determining advertising dollars for the advertising-based basic cable show in contrast to the subscriber-based premium cable show. Which specific technological advancements are affecting TV?
Social Media: Over 80 percent of internet users visit social networks and blogs. Beginning with the 2013 Fall TV season, Neilsen united with Twitter to intertwine the rating system with social media and to introduce the next evolution of programming- real time feedback loop. The company believed what viewers tweet about on the second screen will affect what happens during the program itself. Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings will even further compliment the traditional TV rating model, and better serve TV advertisers and networks in understanding audience social activity.
Online streaming sites: Hulu and Netflix users are increasing TV viewing more than any other content offered. Nielsen’s high-tech edge has been threatened by the ability of DVR services, or TV providers, to gather screening information from their own devices–programmers and advertisers can get data directly from TiVo or DVR.
Ad Viewership: Online advertising has increased by more than double television advertising over the past six years. Unfortunately, online viewership will not generate the amount of revenue for programmers as would if most people were sitting and watching it on live TV through every commercial ad break. Streaming videos online typically spurs a minute-long ad, compared to the quarter of an hour of commercials in broadcast TV. Online TV services target the audience and can even offer viewers the choice of ads.
Mobile Devices: Research displays that 85 percent of tablet or smartphone owners use their device while watching TV. Additionally, the omnipresence of online usage, on phones, computers and tablets, has offered choices for viewing shows to re-establish the new norm of TV watching- ironically not via a TV.
The television industry is placing far more importance on Facebook and Twitter to analyze trends. Netflix, Hulu, apps, and even downloaded episodes of shows are currently popular options in streaming TV for the modern generation of viewers. The social buzz of a show, included those streamed online through unconventional devices, may now be more informative for programmers to understand the demographics of and response to a show- especially as it being viewed live on television- than Nielsen ratings could be. While ratings let broadcast, cable, and premium cable shows know the amount of viewers watching, which is a necessity to keep a show running, the technological viewing methods online more easily identify the viewers and their demographic characteristics.