New Measurment Aspect

When NBC announced it would cancel their successful series Chuck, fans of the program took unprecedented action. As the television viewing audience heavily decreased, it solidified elsewhere to leave Chuck on screen.

On TV RatingsFans joined in the spontaneous on-line campaign ”Be a Nerd…Join the Herd. Save Chuck.” which started with people leaving their comments on Chuck and writing about the reasons why they love it. This campaign developed to something bigger than originally intended. Fans created downloadable badges, postcards and Twitter backgrounds, and they re-tweeted each other’s posts. Since Subway’s brand was constantly a part of the show, fans included it in their campaign, along with the actor who plays Chuck, Zachary Levy. The result of the campaign was NBC’s decision to continue filming Chuck for a third season with Subway’s sponsorship.

Rating currency

Founded in 1950, the global information and measurement company Nielsen  became a rating standard for television advertising and is an important and relevant source of information in the field of marketing and consumer behaviour.

Nielsen has adjusted the methodology they developed to rate radio audiences and applied it to television. Their rating system evolved from handwritten reports to 1990’s television set meters connected to the TV to track viewer’s channel activities. The meters can measure how many viewers watched a commercial during a TV show with a ”C3 Rating”, based on the average number of commercial minutes in a TV show and additional three days of viewing commercials in time shifted playback, where every fast forwarding of commercials is excluded from the calculation.

It seems that it’s not that easy to upgrade a rating system and to find more accurate methods even though existing methods are far from perfect. Set-top data is, for example,  unable to report the demographics of the viewers in the household, which is important to further research that would be of use to television channels.

Social Media Feedback

Social media gave a new additional aspect to the existing rating system, and it opened a wide space for its development. Social media generates a large amount of information that can be measured and interpreted. Although now C3 rating seems to be an anachronism, it’s still  irreplaceable – social ratings can present only an addition to Nielsen measurement.

Nielsen seems to refuse to fully acknowledge the impact of social media and has a rather formal and reserved attitude towards that impact. Social media doesn’t have the most important factor to become relevant as a rating system – the exact number of people who actually watch a certain program. In spite of that fact, social media should be given a specific value in offering other information, such as the demographic information. Social media can provide  information about viewer’s ages, gender, education, affinities, lifestyle and other. Those information can now be accessed in a more direct way with the help of social media.

Real development of the rating system can occur with a cooperation of Nielsen rating system and social media. Their cooperation could give multidimensional information about viewers and their preferences, which television networks could use in thinking of new ways to make their program more attractive to audience.