Rating The Nielsen Ratings

Ken AshfordPopular Culture1 Comment

NielsenI’m a member of the Nielsen family.

Yup, they called and asked me to monitor my TV habits for one week, recording everything I watch in a diary that they sent.

Glad to help, I said.

What a pain in the ass.

First of all, they send this big ass booklet.  Paper and pencil — how quaint.  How 20th century. 

So I fill out a basic questionnaire (who lives in the house, how many TVs, etc.).

THEN they want me to list every single channel I get.  I get several hundred channels, you Nielsen guys.  I’m not going to sit down and handwrite them all.

Ok, I will, but already, it’s not worth the five crisp new one dollar bills that you sent me (that Cheryl pocketed I think, because she opened the envelope).

Then it’s time to actually keep the diary.  I have to write down what I watch, and when I watch it.  Not too difficult a task — except when it comes to TIVO.  I have to not only write down what I watch, but when it was originally aired — unless it was aired on a date outside of the week in which I am monitoring.  Also, if I record something on TIVO, and I intend to watch it after my monitoring period is over, I have to record that as well.  And if the TV is one in the background and I’m not watching it, I have to record that, too.  And if I watch something on one channel while TIVO records off another channel…. well, you get the idea: it’s worse than filling out tax forms.

I can’t imagine how difficult this would be in a regular household of five people.  Yikes.

I thought they had boxes or meters that just recorded this information for you.  Oh, I guess they do.  Just not for me, apparently.

Anyway, I’ve decided that for the balance of the week, I’m not going to watch any TV.  Not that I watch much anyway, but I’m not going to TIVO anything either.

Okay, I lied.  I probably might watch The Daily Show or something.  And my TIVO is going to record whatever the hell it wants to.

Still, this is a pain in the ass.  I don’t like being part of the Nielsen family.  They’re dysfunctional.