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April 21 2009

Dollhouse episode 8 DVR ratings are out. They're good again, plus the 18-49 didn't drop this time.

Live+SD, DVR, Total, Live+SD 18-49, Total 18-49

Ep 1 - Ghost: 4.78m, 1.6m, 5.8m, 2.0, 2.6
Ep 2 - Target: 4.2m, 1.46m, 5.25m, 1.67, 2.21
Ep 3 - Stage Fright: 4.18m, 1.67m, 5.28m, 1.61, 2.19
Ep 4 - Gray Hour: 3.58m, 1.61m , 4.63m , 1.5, 2.11
Ep 5 - True Believer: 4.25m, 1.52m, 5.28m, 1.6, 2.14
Ep 6 - Man on the Street : 4.14m, 1.48m, 5.06m, 1.5, 2.03
Ep 7 - Echoes : 3.87m, 1.42m, 4.82m, 1.4, 1.96
Ep 8 - Needs: 3.43m, 1.53m, 4.39m, 1.46, 1.96
Ep 9 - Spy in the House of Love: 3.56m, xxxx, xxxx, 1.4

[ edited by Ivalaine on 2009-04-22 00:45 ]

Well it can't hurt...
I hope we exceed 5m for Spy.
Do DVR numbers come from only Nielson households or from a broader base of DVR users (e.g., TIVOs and DVRs associated with your local TV provider)?
How much do Fox care about DVR though? TV by numbers reckons not that much...

http://tvbythenumbers.com/2009/04/20/is-it-a-good-thing-that-90210-terminator-gossip-girl-dollhouse-get-40-of-demo-viewing-by-dvr/17070

*shrug* Lost and Heroes get very similar DVR figures.
From what Joss has said recently, they are definitely looking at the DVR numbers.
More DVR is better than less DVR, but not as good as more live viewers.

It's pretty much that simple.

Plus, Fox has to show SOMETHING on Friday nights. And whatever they show is not going to get a LOT of viewers on that night(they must know this). so, it's better to show something that gets "okay" numbers (which Dollhouse may or may not get, depending on your definition of "okay") and does well on DVR, than to show something that doesn't do as well on DVR.
A legend really helps for remembering what all these numbers mean.
SteveP, DVR numbers are only from Nielson households.

(If you're a non-Nielson household and want to be counted, watch it online.)
Really? I thought the DVR numbers were ALL national DVRs if they watched the recorded show within the first week of it airing. Am I wrong about that? But personally I have been doing my rewatching on hulu and at Fox's streaming video site because I figured they must like seeing the activity there.
DVR=Nielsen only. It's all part of the same sample. They can't mix and match numbers.
Ya, I thought my Tivo counted. Is that not the case?
I think TiVo's made some moves toward trying to unsettle Nielsen's position as THE source of viewing data, but I'm pretty sure it's still all Nielsen samples we're seeing when we get DVR numbers.
I'm sure they're looking at the DVR numbers, because it tells them the potential number of future viewers. But in the short run, the higher DVR numbers don't translate into a selling point for advertisers. So unless Fox can find some way of translating those DVR viewers into $$$, they don't mean much.

If Fox is smart, they're working on this problem. Dollhouse is a valuable long-term property, they seem to know this, and I'm sure they're trying. Eventually someone is going to solve this problem of DVR viewership, and Fox (just as any other network) wants to be the one to figure out how to translate those views into advertiser dollars.
TiVo partnered with Nielsen Media to share viewer data, but is now competing with them by offering "instant data" on second-by-second viewership which will come from nearly all the boxes in service. A bit big-brotherish, if you ask me-- since, although the USAToday article claims they aren't able to share specific demographics, it's clear they could easily cross-reference individual machines against the subscriber zipcode data to come up with fairly accurate demos.
So, only Nielsen families with DVR's get counted? That seems to contradict what we've heard before. I think we even had people here DVR-ing episodes because they thought that that would be counted. I did always wonder how they mixed and matched these actual numbers to sampled numbers, though I'm sure there's lots of nifty equations to be applied. But these numbers we're seeing each week are Nielsen numbers, not numbers gathered from the competition?
I think we even had people here DVR-ing episodes because they thought that that would be counted.

Yes, well, we've also had people here saying that since some form of torrent download numbers are available, their torrenting of shows should be counted as well. (Which is not to say that the argument is the same, obviously, since one is legal and one is not, just that what people say is not always reflective of the real world.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-04-21 17:31 ]
These are all Nielsen numbers. there may be other numbers available to the networks (obviosuly hulu and iTunes are), but these numbers are all from nielsen. The live and DVR numbers that we have (and on whihc the networks base their analyses) are only from Nielsen households.
Heh. Well, at the very least, that's new information to me, although to be fair, I might've missed it in all the ratings confusion before. I have the impression that the general concensus here was that DVR'ing was counted. Maybe the general concensus was that DVR'ing was counted by Tivo and I misunderstood and then proceeded to jump to the conclusion that these DVR numbers were actual numbers, instead of Nielsen estimates. Either way: this is new information to me (and possibly to a few others as well?) and it's good to have it spelled out here. Live and learn.

Yes, well, we've also had people here saying that since some form of torrent download numbers are available, their torrenting of shows should be counted as well.


Yes, but then we always had people pointing out that that was silly, Bix ;). I don't remember any such comments in this case. But then, the human memory isn't very reliable in most cases :).

Additional question: didn't we have some form of data that suggested that Dollhouse viewers were skipping less adds than other DVR-viewers (I remember the speculation that that might be because the ad-breaks were shorter)? Did I imagine that (or, possibly, misremember an essential point) and if I didn't: was that based on the Nielsen data or on the Tivo-data? What's happening with the Tivo data anyway. Do networks have access to them?
All of this has been said before and all of it will be said again.

Tivo data is just that, Tivo data. It has nothing to do with anyone who doesn't have Tivo. Unless advertisers want to only advertise to people who have Tivo, those numbers aren't representative of the whole country. You can argue about how accurate Nielsen is, but they're the only ones so far who attempt to get unskewed numbers.
TiVo's now collecting both national and (announced yesterday I believer) local affiliate data. They collect data from more households total, and I think we may hear more about their data in the future, but as hacksaway points out, it's not meant to collect a sample that represents US viewership as a whole. That's Nielsen's thing, and why theirs are the numbers everyone reports and dissects and uses to gauge what's going on.

If you have TiVo they're collecting your data (unless you opted out), but it's not what FOX is looking at when they want to know how Dollhouse is doing. They're looking at Nielsen and (to what extent is unclear) other things like Hulu and iTunes.
Additional question: didn't we have some form of data that suggested that Dollhouse viewers were skipping less adds than other DVR-viewers

I seem to recall something showing that the remote-free format (not just Dollhouse's alone) led to less skipping, but not a reduction big enough for FOX to keep doing it.
Plus unless Tivo is different to generic DVRs I've used they can't go beyond reporting shows recorded and played back but can say nothing about the number of people actually watching and which of the various demos they fall into. For that you need the extra information the Nielsen's collect.
Thanks for the clarification, everyone! It was very, well, clear :).

Don't quite know how I managed to miss or misinterpret all this before, when - like hacksaway points out - all of it was discussed here before. I usually like to think of myself as a pretty intelligent and attentive person (like, probably, everyone does ;)), but I guess I just wasn't in this case ;).
Consider me stupid. I thought that all DVRs were reporting back info. Why else have people -- including people who work in television -- been telling people to watch their DVRs within 3 days of the original airing if the only people whose viewing is counted are the 0.0001% of the population that are Nielsen families? Jesus this system is antiquated. I'm angry. Uh oh, turning into Hulk, must go...
I think it was me who said DVR data is counted. Obviously, I was wrong.
I don't think I've seen it stated that no DVR data goes to the networks. Just that the data they really rely on (and that we mull over weekly) is Nielsen. I would assume TiVo is selling its data. It's just not reflected in the stats we're seeing and we don't know who buys it or how much weight they give it. But we do know that Nielsen is the industry standard and the primary metric with which shows are measured.
Only Nielsen DVR data is counted by Nielsen. The tvbythenumbers info is only Nielsen. Everyone is told to watch it live, dvr it, and watch it on hulu because who knows if a Nielsen viewer might be reading.

I was initially confused by who and what dvrs were and were not counted as well, but on further research realized it was only Nielsen.
I think everyone accepts that Nielsen is only an estimate while Tive (and iTunes and Hulu) can produce actual, accurate, figures.
But what Tivo, iTunes and Hulu can't do is say how many people were actually sitting in front of that screen watching a show, let alone their ages. In a family home who knows if it's Grandpa or the teenage granddaughter watching?
Nielsen can give these figures and may be way out but in theory it is way out equally for everyone, so it's still a fair comparison for advertisers and the network.

If you're a Nielsen household, watch the show live. Then rewatch it on DVR. Several times. With friends.
If you're not a Nielsen household, watch it on Hulu or iTunes.
And buy the DVD.
ZZ9 is right. The ONLY way for non Nielsen viewers to help a show is to watch it on Hulu (and presumably FoD) where there is a modicum of advertising (does anyone know how closely hulu's advertising time compares with the remote free advertising time?) or where you outright buy it with iTunes, where a portion of that money goes to Fox (again does anyone know the numbers?)

I would be all for setting up a website where you could click a link to Hulu's page showing the next DH ep, and those numbers are recorded by someone who will actually share it with the world. anyone up for the task? If it's good enough for Chuck fans, Whedonites should easily be able to take the idea and make it better.

Obviously the numbers would be slightly higher because inevitably people would try to bump the numbers higher, but if a big warning notice was posted above the link to only click the link if you are actually going to watch the show, because clicking and not watching will skew our numbers higher, and then Fox could come out and say our numbers were way off (they'll have perfectly accurate numbers of course)

It could be coordinated for the finale perhaps? or the last two eps? I say it's worth a shot.
@Ivalaine Sorry, not following. I don't get why this would be better than watching it directly on hulu. Can you link to what they did for Chuck?

@zz9 A minor note: I'm not as familiar with tivo and itunes, but on hulu you have profiles that include your age and you have to log in to watch "mature" content, which Dollhouse presumably is. (I'm perpetually logged in so I don't know for sure.) People could lie I suppose, but if you are not 18-49 and are self-identifying with that demo, you're probably still the advertiser's target audience.
I believe Nielsen is the most reliable Source, since it's based in demographic researches.

zz9 said:
But what Tivo, iTunes and Hulu can't do is say how many people were actually sitting in front of that screen watching a show, let alone their ages. In a family home who knows if it's Grandpa or the teenage granddaughter watching?


Here we get a strange phenomenum, that sometimes, even when the bigger channel (Globo) is out of the air it gets bigger ratings.
Nielsen can't actually tell how many people were actually sitting in front of that screen watching a show either. They rely entirely (if I recall correctly) upon the Nielsen household properly recording in their log how many people were watching. It's not like Nielsen has magic boxes that record the room and count heads.
True, but they do collect data on it. Unlike TiVo which has no information on who was watching. Nielsen has a smaller, richer dataset while TiVo has a much larger, more limited one.
I'm just saying it's neither magic nor technological. It relies, and always has relied, upon people not having a reason to fudge the numbers. (By which I mean, indeed, that no one has a reason to fudge the numbers. I'm not saying people fudge the numbers. It's just with all the confusion about how numbers are gathered, I wanted to mention it's entirely trust-driven.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-04-22 18:44 ]
Yes, it relies on human reporting, which is important to know since that always carries its own set of potential problems.

For awhile Paul Ballard was in that special futuristic Nielsen program with the magic box.
The main Nielsen sample doesn't work entirely off self report though - in that they do have a box which monitors what is actually viewing on the TV at any given time. So yes, it's certainly open to manipulation but the advantage of being a selected sample rather than something everyone can join in on it has proven very hard for 'fan campaigns'to influence ratings.
I didn't mean that Nielsen has no way of knowing what's being watched. The issue was "how many people are in front of the screen".
Well all they have to do is push a button. I think they are working on a more "magical" way of doing it, but it'll never be perfect. I guess if you push all the buttons all the time, they might get suspicious.

So if one person watches live and another in the household watches the same program on dvr later, does that count as two viewings? It should, right?
The Chuck Campaign is simply to watch it on Hulu or buy it on iTunes. But there is no recording method at the fan end. Only the studios will get those numbers, so they have no idea how effective their campaign has been. By adding a link click count, we would get data on how effective our campaign was. AS it stands, the current belief is is I believe 200,000 views to be top ranked on Hulu. If a link click counter showed us our number was closer to say, 1 million, we would know the campaign worked, and we would have numbers we and the press could tout.
Or, if most people weren't watching via the click counter method, you could end up with 9,875 views and it would look like a disaster.
Only if you publicised the numbers. Which obviously you don't have to do. But if you're going to make a campaign out of it, there has to be a way to gauge your success at not only reaching the fans, but also at getting big numbers to watch it.
Unquestionably. But publishing numbers would be the only way to declare a success. If one didn't publish the numbers, the reasonable public assumption would be it wasn't a success. I just don't, personally, see how such an effort is worth the risk of being seen as a show no one wants to watch after all.
Ivaline, were you suggesting that we put a Hulu link on a "Watch Dollhouse" website with a counter so whoever clicked that link, we could count ourselves?

That might be a good idea. I mean, we're always trying to figure out the numbers. If we pushed the site (via Twitter or on Dollhouse fan-bases), it would at least give us a glimpse of what the internet market is like.

gossi, do you have this on your site? Anyone?

What about Twitter bix? Wasn't it like a 5 hour disaster? And Twitter has been getting a lot of publicity. I hear about it on the radio all the time. Might be something to try. Maybe not the "Save Dollhouse by clicking this link!" thing. Something more subtle.
What was a five-hour disaster?
Don't you remember the whole "OMG they're not showing Episode 13! Dollhouse has been canceled!" wave that stayed on #1 Twitter topic for 3 hours? First came the wide-spread panic, then the hate @FoxB, then the post from Tim Minear, then the "calm down, here's what's really going on" wave.

No?? It happened two weeks ago. I know you were there...
I guess I wasn't counting?
taking this in a different direction, did anyone else feel like the list of high DVR'd shows was pulled directly from your recording settings list? do we constitute a specific niche market, or do these shows fail to capture people's immediate need for tv (or watercooler fodder)?

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