Rating Demos Can Be A Super Girl’s Best Friend (or How I Learned To Love The Secret Comic Book Television Show Wars Sweepstakes and Chase the Stream).

21 May



Change the pace. Change of direction. Change the story.


.But before you do, please welcome the newest edition to the CHANGE family….CHANGE the STREAMING.

Four years ago when I decided upon the CHANGE of format for this new addition of PP Guru family of blogs, I was going to delve into my deep-rooted love of everything media-related. Not be distracted by thoughts of obscure elitist progressive rock and spoiled rich comic book rock star meanderings that I explored more in-depth on the old BlogSpot blog which my erstwhile editing partner, Sparky Santos took full control or neither did I intend to reminisce about the weekly angst-ridden fellatio depravity brought up on by ex-porn actress girlfriends that dominated my myspace version.

This wordpress version is supposed to be the real version. The real version of me, actually, cajoling the early millennial days of yesteryear when I was making some great strides of being constantly employed AND never bored in the television and movie industries.  But now, over fifty ageist has crept in, robbing me of a few opportunities here and there, now that anyone from recent graduating classes of USC or UCLA can push you off the edge of a winding curve with a mere snap of the finger, if you’re not caught up to the date with the latest version of Excel, Photoshop or Power point.

Not to mention, being in the possession a BA. The new license to work in an entertainment industry EVEN though most studios, such as Warner Bros were founded by a quintet of high school dropouts who owned a string of Nickelodeons who wouldn’t know a University of Phoenix diploma laser printout if it bit them on the ass (they never gave a shit about my educational background when I was gainfully employed by them for four and a half years helping out in the MIS and Script Service departments. The millennial smarty pants are now taking over and trying to CHANGE shit around from beneath my ball dropped sack.

Anyway, work in my line of enjoyment has become so scarce in this whoopee do economy. Some days are good and a lot of them are bad but still I’ve been deviating from this blog’s goals – and I’m try to get a few things back on track,  mainly with the subject of television ratings.

The other blogs will still be on schedule. I’ll be starting up a Steven Wilson blog one in a week or so. And I’ll be getting back into producing some new comic book work hopefully in time before the year is out BUT in the meantime, if any of you follow me on facebook – you may become silly aware of that I’m obsessed with watching comic books come to life on television and movies.

I usually reserve my Sundays to watch them all in an amazingly clusterfuck of a marathon, now that there’s such impregnable force amount of them – and WHEN I’m finished with watching them – I’m obsessed how well or a how big of an audience initially tuned in commercial watching warts and all.

Then I like to pit them all together in a death race.  And I then get a massive chubby when others’ my favorite facebook friend show loses.

I’m just people metered wired that way, it seems

Now beginning next fall – there will be three new comic book based shows premiering on the all the major broadcast network schedules – plus already some are in the development or early production phase or simply on stand by to premiere on the cable stations and online binge watching platforms.

They are:

THE WALKING DEAD on AMC (cable) Sundays – the ratings colossal winner.

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD  on AMC (cable) Sundays starting November.


SUPERGIRLCBS Mondays starting late October


LUCIFERFOX Mondays (November)

THE FLASH – THE CW  Tuesdays


MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER – ABC Tuesdays (mid-season) January 2016

iZOMBIE – THE CW Tuesdays

ARROW – THE CW Wednesdays

LEGENDS OF TOMORROW (a DC super hero team up show featuring THE ATOM, HAWKGIRL, FIRESTORM, THE WHITE CANARY, RIP HUNTER, CAPTAIN COLD and HEATWAVE) THE CW – Thursdays(?) (mid-season)



That’s a total of 13 shows currently in rotation.

BUT there are pilots galore still awaiting word on whether they’ll be getting the go-ahead on your widescreen television or laptop.


PREACHER – AMC (probably Sundays in the Walking Dead slot while the Walking Dead and its’ spin-off are on hiatus)


TITANS – TNT (another show that takes place in the CW/DC Universe)

NETFLIX’s Marvel’s AKA JESSICA JONES – NETFLIX (possibly late summer or fall 2015)




So, anyway you look at it, that’s 20 shows total based on comic books. 20!!

Jeez- didn’t have that many when I was a kid growing up. Back then, CBS was the ruler of the late seventies super hero rabbit-ear airwaves with WONDER WOMAN, INCREDIBLE HULK, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and a few cheesy television movies that starred DOCTOR STRANGE and CAPTAIN AMERICA.

Genres come and go. When I was a three or four-year old tyke, Saturday morning cartoons in the mid to late sixties were permeated with nothing but super hero influenced cartoons due to the crazy campy live action Batman television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward (which is sort of enjoying a renaissance at the moment, in which legal issues between Twentieth Century Fox, who produced the show, and Warner Bros, who owns the rights to the DC Comics character have been resolved to release the entire series on DVD and Blu-Ray. Now if only the same could be done for the Green Hornet.). Superman started the super-hero cartoon trend in an animated series produced by the now long defunct Filmation studios, and it snowballed into some studios even creating their own brand of super-hero universe, most notably Hanna-Barbara with their World of Super Adventure that included some memorable characters like Space Ghost, Mightor, Frankenstein Jr, and the Herculoids. Then by time the seventies rolled around, the comic book inspired character died down to a whisper with silly animal fare such as Scooby Doo and Dick Dastardly and Muttley, with only the sanitized practically pulling your punches non-violent Super Friends catching popularity. Super Hero cartoons nearly evaporated altogether if it hadn’t been once again for the resurgence of the Batman phenomenon when Tim Burton directed two Batman movies that once again saw the popular character emerge in his own art-deco animated series in 1992 and then that caused an avalanche of more super hero themed shows to follow in the 1990’s – especially when Fox started airing the X-Men animated series which prompted the movie studio to follow suit with the Bryan Singer X-Men series of films.


So trends begat trends.

Riding on an encrusted cape flapping super powered wave right now – BUT sometimes trends tend to die down after a while – sometimes for a long while. As a pioneering television nation, we used to be fascinated with Westerns, then it was World War II themed shows (I loved Rat Patrol and Garrison’s Gorillas when I was three or four years old as if they were seen and produced yesterday). Sci-fi and mystery anthologies were once considered the rage in the late fifties or early sixties. Trends come and go. The Super hero or comic book based themed show won’t last forever, but while they’re on in the here and present day. I will tend to bask in the moment.

BUT the most important deciding factor that keeps a show’s heart still pumping is primarily ratings. Nielsen ratings. Pure and simple.


And just what Nielsen ratings, you ask?

It’s how we measure shit. It’s what draws advertising animals to your product like a slab of meat to either sometimes long savor the herbs and spice scented filet mignon OR to tear it apart like cheap mayonnaise dried bologna in a matter of a week or two and you’re left digging the corn out of what’s been left behind. No syndication deals and no place in the mighty annals of culture dominion, my friend.

And there’s a big reason why Nielsen is synonymous with television audience measurement. Since day one, the media industry has to offer the expertise it needs to make the best marketing decisions possible. Today, expansive and representative television measurement services capture video viewing across all screens: television, computers and mobile devices. National and local TV ratings help media companies and brands decide how to spend the nearly $70 billion on TV advertising in the U.S. alone. Ratings are only one of the audience measurement services.

As technology continues to evolve and media companies try new ways to attract viewers to comprehend what consumers are watching and nowadays WHAT they’re watching it on.  Today, viewing video is a personal and mobile experience—anytime and anywhere. Take for instance when Netflix debuted Daredevil to streaming platforms- Netflix was very hard assed about releasing the their ratings data – as if it were top-secret government information – so it took upon a different set of eyes such as the marketing consultants from the company Luth Research from San Diego to conduct a ratings measurement experiment on their own. What they did was they contacted a sampling of 2500 known Netflix subscribers and asked them to volunteer in a survey to ask them what they were watching on the paying streaming service. According to an April 28th article in Variety Magazine:  “Daredevil,” the first of multiple superhero dramas coming to Netflix as part of a deal with Marvel, premiered April 10, and saw strong sampling, with an estimated 10.7% of subscribers watching at least one episode in its first 11 days on the streaming service.” Daredevil was successful in breaking the third season premiere of the streaming service’s previous most downloaded crown darling “House of Cards” which had attracted 6.5% of its’ subscribers within the first thirty days. Approximately analysts cobble that data and contend that IF Daredevil had been airing weekly on the ABC Network, rather than a pay cable station its first episode would’ve probably scored a higher rating than Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D usual average of 1.6 to 1.7 GAA Live + SD rating.

But I’m probably getting ahead of myself here. To the untrained novice, I probably just mentioned a bunch of useless jargon that you’re scratching your rumpus trying to figure out.


Let’s try to break it down a bit – so I took the liberty of plagiarizing some nifty terminology from the Nielsen Research homepage and some Wikipedia snippets. Plus I have a print outs of my own personal reports from the time I used to work for Sony Picture Television while I was manhandling the Seinfeld market list for some 217 odd stations across the US for a two-year period.

The most commonly cited Nielsen results are reported in two measurements: ratings points and share, usually reported as: “ratings points/share”. There were an estimated 115.6 million television households in the United States, up 1.2% from the previous year because of the inclusion of televisions that receive content over the Internet. A single national ratings point represents 1% of the total number, or 1,156,000 households for the 2013–14 season. Nielsen re-estimates the number of television-equipped households each August for the upcoming television season.

Nielsen measures more than 40 percent of the world’s viewing behavior—hundreds of channels, thousands of programs, and millions of viewers. Their measurement breadth allows clients to plan programming and advertising for their ideal audience. That great lipstick ad you saw during your favorite reality show—that was no accident—it was informed by big data.

Electronic and proprietary metering technology is at the heart of Nielsen audience measurement. In addition to capturing what channels viewers are watching on each television set in the home their meters can identify who is watching and when, including “time-shifted” viewing—the watching of recorded programming up to seven days after an original broadcast. Rating demographic come in many different forms, but the most prominent ones that are usually captured in the adult rating between the age range of 18-49, or 18-54. And they’re even determined by sub categories of ratings to make up the big score, both male and female, and teens and even children factor in the equation as well although not so much past the 10:00PM hour. Once you reach the age of 2 – you’re part of the process, baby.

Depending on what side of the people metered picket fence you’re on, you’re either

THE Gross Average Audience (GAA) Rating – The sum of the percent of households or persons tuning or viewing during the average minute of each telecast of the program, including repeat telecasts during the report interval. Duplicated tuning and viewing to the same program (or its repeat telecast) by the same household during the report period is counted each time.

Or you’re simply part of the:

AVERAGE AUDIENCE (AA) Rating: The average number of people who tuned into the given time selected and expressed in thousands or as a percentage (also known as a Rating) of the total potential audience of the demographic selected. It is also known as a T.A.R.P – Targeted Audience Rating Point. If you’re the atypical fanboy – this is probably your stop.

Chosen at random through proven methodology, Nielsen’s U.S. TV families represent a cross-section of representative homes throughout the country. Viewing is measured by using national and local people meters, which capture information about what’s being viewed and when, and in the major U.S. markets, specifically who and how many people are watching. TV set meters are also set in many local markets, and are collected through more than two million paper diaries from audiences across the country each year during “sweeps”—specific periods during the months of February, May, July and November. (May 2015’s stats are about to be announced in a couple of days from this post) To measure video content viewed on mobile devices, incorporate, census-style data from third parties, such as the previously mentioned Luth Research from San Diego, Ca are applied to capture the breadth and depth of consumer usage.

Nielsen delivers a constant, real-time stream of information, revealing tuning behavior during programs and commercials. Clients can tell which commercials are being watched, as well as which ones have the strongest engagement and impact. Then in turn, a commercial block is created to be the most effective for a specific brand and for which markets will be developed to make the best return on investment for brands.

And you don’t watch your shows right away – with the advent of digital platforms and devices, not to mention, your own cable box, you can watch them whenever you want but be wary advertisers are not patient people, they’re the ones who are footing the bills to sponsor most of these broadcast shows to be made. If appointment television doesn’t really pan out for you (overnight viewing, Live +SD), (SD = same day) then you can count yourself in the viewing race either by a Live +3, Live +7, or a monthly measurement (which is rarely taken) type of installment binge watching plan.

Still, the biggest choice on what programs will be the biggest hits is up to the consumer, but deep intelligence into viewing behavior can improve both return on investment and brand reputation. And that’s where we’ll leave it at this juncture. By the time fall 2015 rolls around, I’ll have more Nielsen ranking gathering secrets to bestow upon you. Until then, try to catch up on your digital platform and watch some of those mostly good shows. Daredevil being the most excellent.


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