Tivo launching alternative to the Nielsen Ratings system. Rejoice, TV fans!


Jul 26, 2004
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Tivo admits that their new system isn't perfect, and that there's data missing regarding demographics and such, but still it looks like a step in the right direction. Given how long the Nielsen system has been around, it's pretty much obsolete by now, and yet it's still the deciding factor for which shows get renewed and which don't. Unlike the Nielsens, Tivo's system will actually have a decent sample size, and that alone is reason to be happy since it means a show's ratings don't plummet just because a handful of people didn't watch.

I don't see this new system taking over completely yet, but it could certainly be a valuable supplement for networks and advertisers who are evaluating a show's success. Hopefully, Tivo continues to refine their system to the point where Nielsen's monopoly on TV ratings ceases to exist, because hopefully a larger ratings pool will mean fewer canceled shows!
I don't understand how Tivo's ratings would mean anything to networks. It doesn't matter that people are watching their shows if they're skipping commercials. The revenue from TV comes from charging other companies for ad time and telling them "X number of people from Y demographic watch this show, so you'll be getting your message out to exactly who you want for the low price of only an arm and a leg." From a business perspective, TV shows are simply a delivery method for commercials. If the boxes are reporting that people are watching TV shows but skipping commercials, why would those ratings really matter to the networks?
Tivo is not just going to be paying attention to DVR recordings, they will be paying attention to ALL TV viewing by viewers who have Tivo set-top boxes, including DirecTV DVRs. They're going to have second-by-second commercial viewing analysis too, which means that they'll know exactly which commercials people are seeing, and for how long. This data will be VERY valuable to the networks, even if they are still dependent on the Nielsens for demographic information for now. I really do believe that networks having more ratings data options will save shows in the future. Even if the TiVo ratings never replace the Nielsens, the fact that Nielsen will no longer have a monopoly will force them to develop a more accurate ratings system with a larger sampling of viewers.
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meh, more opportunity for mediocre shows to be dragged on.

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