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"That was watercooler vengeance!"
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July 18 2007

A guide to Save Our Show campaigns. It cheerfully slaughters a few sacred cows. There's an article in a similar vein over at SyFy Portal.

A nice dose of reality, thanks, Simon.
Honestly, some of the campaigns take the piss, and in my view steal the spotlight away from shows that deserve the extension (eg the campaigns to renew the tired Gilmore Girls vs the horribly drawn-out Veronica Mars axing).

Something I wonder if anyone's ever tried is writing to the ADVERTISERS. They're the ones who supply the networks with money and the ones that advertised on XYZ show deserve your thanks for supporting your show, don't they? The possibility exists that those advertisers would recognise your appreciation of them and that they might be more inclined to support further episodes of it?

[ edited by daylight on 2007-07-18 14:39 ]
Advertisers' identities and addresses were posted during the Save Angel campaign, to no avail.

Regarding this article: I think a little dose of walking in other people's shoes is always helpful. As are the other reminders -- like don't begin your campaign after the sets are struck, don't quote ratings statistics to the people who eat them for breakfast, etc. I'm also continually amazed at how nasty some people get when hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet and the U.S. mail. (I think my age is showing. Part of me longs for a return to slightly more decorous times.)
Vey interesting. There is only one threat that I can see ever
mattering one iota;

"We are are an organized group of Nielsen/Arbitron/et al households
and we will cost you millions by either not watching ANY of your
stinkin' shows or at least not reporting that we did."

That's the only language they understand.
McGrath's always worth reading though over the last week or so it's either been re-posts or attacks on TPTB in Canadian TV so i've only skimmed.

Must admit, a lot of what he says makes sense to me, not to devalue anyone's efforts but in most cases I doubt it makes too much difference. If done right though it's also not going to do any harm (and might make some money for charity along the way) but how anyone can think an executive is going to respond to threats, anonymous or otherwise sends me speeding towards Bafflonia. Is there anyone that doesn't just dig their heels in when brow-beaten ?

That said, I sometimes think the lad McGrath tends to take a few (often extreme) examples and extrapolate a bit wildly. With fan-fic his main thesis seemed to be "Some fan-ficcers are a bit mental/just plain rude. Therefore, fan-fic is worthless shit" and there's a slightly similar smell coming off aspects of this post.

(and though a very well co-ordinated Nielsen based 'exploit' could work, especially around sweeps periods, it'd also be hella difficult to organise since Nielsen households are presumably randomly spread by design - possible in principle though and you might not need that many participants to game the system)
JDL, if that kind of threat was issued you can bet that Nielsen would be on it to have the people removed from their sample.
Remove who, the people with the big "We're in on it !" signs up on their roofs ?

i.e. they'd presumably keep it a secret, like Nielsen Ninjas ;).

(which means you couldn't skew it in a particular direction but you could render their figures suspect thus giving the advertisers another stick to beat the network with - though you'd need enough co-conspirators so that they couldn't just remove outliers from the data to eliminate your effect)
If the threat was made and Nielsen saw an effect I'm sure they'd have ways to determine which viewers had suddenly switched viewing choices in line with the threatened action. The real issue is that how would the Nielsen people find each other in the first place to undertake this sort of task. Individual Nielsen families I'm sure already do at times try and help or hinder specific shows but as they're not easily identifiable finding enough of them and enough of them who feel fervently enough to skew the data would strike me as difficult to do and thus actually traceable if Nielsen were alerted to it.
Yeah, hence my "hella difficult to organise". I imagine maybe a website or myspace or whatever where people on Nielsen who'd be willing to screw with the system sign up.

But then you'd have to get them all on the same page re: which show to 'save'/protest against cancellation and in sufficient numbers that the data trended away from X rather than clearly skewing. You couldn't just all not watch at 8 pm on a particular night but you could probably mess with borderline shows (ratings juggernauts wouldn't notice the blip) and if your effect was subtle enough it might screw with their data. Lot of trouble though.

Basically I think if you had enough people that cared that much about the show (from an already - presumably - random sample) then the show would probably already be popular and wouldn't need saving.
For a time in the early 80's my parents were a Neilsen household. I was too young to care about the technical details of it.

However, I we had just gotten HBO and the only movie that appeal to that month was "Beastmaster." It also happened to be the movie that my friends, who came over one and two at a time to check our cool new HBO, wanted to watch. So for those who remember how many times "Beastmaster" was shown in syndication on regular cable and broadcast channels -- I'd like to take this opportunity to offer an apology. "I just didn't know..."

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