Archive | November, 2011

Pay No Attention to the Man Hidden in The Black Box Connected to Your TV.

15 Nov

Have you ever woken up from the middle of a restless sleep and suddenly remembered that you have a blog out there to support?

Oh yeah. that’s right. I had nearly forgotten that I wanted to delve into blogging about all things in my life as they pertain to media- but I was so busy with my head stuck up my ass with trying to assimulate back into the real world working some meaningless crappy nine to fiver and getting immersed in three hour traffic jams. (seriously, try leaving West LA and head back to the San Fernanado Valley at the first sound of the five o’clock whistle and see how far you get trying to make it through Brentwood and Sunset Boulevard). Tried it for three months. Snapped on the job. Got fired. Vowed to not take on any job in the West LA area (with the exception of Westwood) until Caltrans gets their shit in order.

So the idea of this Purple Pinup Guru revival thing sort of left my focus. During my time of temporary employment incarceration, a few milestones happened in the news as it concerns media things here and there. Editior Sparky Santos and I had a little heated exchange over whose shifting off the mortal coils was more historically benefitting: the passing of Apple en masse product guru Steve Jobs or the man who invented the television rating system which expands en masse to include new methods of measuring the ratings of how we view DVRs, VOD, and digital meida content, AC Nielsen Jr., founder of Nielsen Media Research. Both equally important in their own right, both equally bought the farm on the exact same day.

Whose contributions will resonate more for the future?

If I were a betting man, and many say I’m not so good at it, my bet would be on good ol’ AC fresh out of the start gate.

While Editor Sparky holds all tickets for win, place, or show. I invite Editor Sparky to pay homage to his personal hero in a later blog.

So, while I’m strapped for time (am going to try to make a dash for a lecture given by Harlan Ellision on his take of television viewing) I’m going to ‘phish’ some Wiki facts for your edification and enjoyment. My follow up to this subject will touch on the matters of how advanced rating demographics has vastly improved since the introduction of DVRs and digital media hit the scene.

Later, gators.

ACNielsen is a global marketing research firm, with worldwide headquarters in New York City. Regional headquarters for North America are located in Schaumburg, Illinois. As of May 2010, it is part of The Nielsen Company.

This company was founded in 1923 in Chicago, by Arthur C. Nielsen, Sr., in order to give marketers reliable and objective information on the impact of marketing and sales programs. ACNielsen began expanding internationally in 1939, and now operates in more than 100 countries.

One of ACNielsen’s best known creations is the Nielsen ratings, an Audience measurement system that measures television, radio and newspaper audiences in their respective media markets. In 1950 they began attaching recording devices to a statistical sample of about 1200 consumer television sets in the U.S. These devices used photographic film in mail-in cartridges to record the channels viewed by the consumer and thus determine audience size. Later they developed electronic methods of data collection and transmission. In 1996, ACNielsen split off this part of its operations into a separate company called Nielsen Media Research (NMR), which operated as an independent company until it was acquired by Dutch conglomerate VNU in 1999.

ACNielsen is also sister company to Nielsen//NetRatings, which measures Internet and digital media audiences, and Nielsen BuzzMetrics, which measures Consumer-Generated Media.

Nielsen Media Research (NMR) is an American firm that measures media audiences, including television, radio, theatre films (via the AMC Theatres MAP program) and newspapers. NMR, headquartered in New York City, is best known for the Nielsen ratings, an audience measurement system of television viewership that for years has been the deciding factor in canceling or renewing television shows by television networks.

Nielsen Media Research, one of the largest media research companies in the world, began as a division of ACNielsen, a marketing research firm. In 1996, Nielsen Media Research was split off into an independent company and in 1999, was purchased by the Dutch conglomerate VNU. In 2001, VNU also purchased ACNielsen, thereby bringing both companies under the same corporate umbrella. VNU was reorganized and renamed the Nielsen Company in 2007.

The Nielsen TV Ratings have been produced in the USA since the 1950s and statistically measure which programs are watched by different segments of the population. The most well-known portion is the “diary”. During the 4 sweeps months of February, May, July and November, Nielsen interviewers in Dunedin, Florida and Radcliff, Kentucky ask homes to participate in filling out a diary of the programs watched in their home for a one week period.

By 1983, Nielsen was dissatisfied with the diary method as national measurement tool. Stations complaining that the system was inaccurate lead to the cable study known as CAMS (Cable Audience Methodological Study), which proved claims to be true. Though they hadn’t agreed on a replacement, they were convinced that it was no longer adequate to measure new television environments due to dramatic media changes. Finally in 1986, Nielson developed an electronic meter, People Meter, to solve the problem. They were convinced their new method was efficient but still weren’t sure whether they would fully depend on the people meter measurement alone or use the people meter sample in a fashion similar to their previous diary method as an addition to the household meter sample to produce viewers per household. Ultimately, CONTAM validation studies helped Nielsen decided they would fully incorporate the full people meter service and leave the diary behind.

The Nielsen sample included roughly 1,700 audimeter homes and rotating board of nearly 850 diary respondents, by the early 1980s. Nielsen launched its Nielsen Homevideo Index (NHI) in 1980 to measure cable, pay cable, and VCRs, and the NHI began offering daily cable ratings in 1982. Nielsen’s continued to advance with steady changes into the mid 2000s. Along with changing their counting methods, Nielsen also started emphasizing their sample in 2003 in reaction to census shifts and requests from some industry sectors. Nielsen’s automated Local People Meter (LPM) technology was introduced in New York and Los Angeles. The LPM improved the method of measurement from active and diary-based to passive and meter-monitored. More importantly, the LPM provides accurate measurements to particular local markets, verse a nation wide sample from the People meter. While diary-based surveys concentrated on quarterly “sweeps” periods, the industry has been pushed towards year-round measurement, due to the automated LPM system.

Recently, Nielsen announced the launch of its A2M2 project that would measure television viewing in and out of the home.

Nielsen Media Research is a sister company to Nielsen NetRatings, which measures Internet and digital media audiences through a telephone and internet survey, and Nielsen BuzzMetrics, which measures Consumer-Generated Media.

Nielsen also conducts market research for the film industry through National Research Group (NRG).

In 2005, ACNielsen initiated their MVP (Media Voice Panel) program. Panel members carry an electronic monitor that detects the digital station and program identification codes hidden within the TV and radio broadcasts they are exposed to. At night, members place the monitor in a cradle that sends the collected data through the home’s electrical wiring to a relay device that transmits it by phone, making it one of the first practical uses of electrical wiring as a home network. With an approximately one week notice to members, the MVP program ended on March 17, 2008.

In 2007, the owner VNU changed its name to “The Nielsen Company”.

Nielsen has its headquarters in Lower Manhattan, New York City.

The company maintains an office in Oldsmar, Florida. Most of the employees of Nielsen Media Research work in Oldsmar, and the company’s media measurement work originates from the office. The Associated Press said that the Oldsmar building, with a cost figure of $80 million, was “its so-called nerve center.” In 2003 the company moved into the Oldsmar complex, designed by architect Alberto Alfonso, and consolidated its employees there, with workers from Dunedin and other areas in Pinellas County moving into the Oldsmar building.

Arthur Charles Nielsen, Jr. (born April 8, 1919) the man who acquired the company from his father, died at the age of 92 on October 3, 2011.

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