Saturday, June 16, 2007

Unclear on the Concept

From Ars Technica comes news of a strange request from CBS: a plea that customer not use DVRs to watch Jericho. The show was rescued from cancellation by fans, but CBS is sternly telling that that it's all Tivo's fault that it was going to be cut in the first place:

"The biggest problem with our show is that so many people were watching it on the Internet or Tivo (which doesn't count toward Nielsen ratings), so I think the fans are now aware to watch it when it's on," he said.

This isn't just Beyer's personal view, however. Nina Tassler, the president of CBS Entertainment, told the New York Times that if fans want the show to live, they need to watch the broadcast because that's how the money gets made. Stressing that live viewing is "of primary importance," Tassler said that "We want them to watch on Wednesday at 8 o'clock... and we need them to recruit new viewers who are going to watch the broadcast."

Those selfish viewers, watching a show when and where it's convenient for them! Next thing you know, they'll think they should be able to watch what they want, not what a network executive wants them to see! Who do they think they are, anyway?

It apparently hasn't crossed the mind of CBS execs (or Nielsen) that if your method of measuring viewership is missing viewers, it's a bad way to measure.

Of course, the whole DVRs-killed-the-show idea is suspect. The program was up against American Idol. While I personally would rather have teeth pulled than watch American Idol, it's clear that a whole lot of people don't feel that way. Gosh, could that have been a problem for Jericho?


Jericho Saved said...

Thank you for the article which is right on target. CBS knows the fans are here yet they insist on using Nielsen which excludes most of us. They want us to go out & influence Nielsen families who are similar to UFO's because nobody knows who they are. Meanwhile, CBS, your numbers are here waiting to be counted.

Mark Cahill said...

Like most of the metrics we use, be they traffic analytics or print circulation, the Nielsen reports are horribly broken. Any time you poll a small subset of families, expecting the results to carry effectively to the mass at large, you're in trouble.

I suspect the web traffic statistics I rail about are much more accurate than Neilsen.