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October 29 2014

Ratings for Agents of SHIELD Season 2 Episode 6. Lookin' good.

I'm sure the Age of Ultron footage didn't hurt ;-)
Oh good, they went up a tick and probably a bit more when adjusted. I am a little worried that next week is a break though, causing them to go down on the 11th. MLS is officially gone and they seem to be burning through Selfie, so I still think they could move SHIELD back to 8 PM.

The one place I don't want it to move is Sunday at 9 PM. Sports overrun would be bad enough but come October it would be creamed by The Walking Dead. Both are genre shows based on comics that are popular with males. WD is regularly creating and breaking ratings records. SHIELD has a slight problem overlapping with Supernatural. Overlapping with WD would probably be a tailspin.
I'm sad that Forever isn't doing better in the ratings, but I admit I record it so I can watch Person of Interest first.
Was I imagining things when I heard it said that AoS would start with 10 consecutive episodes without a break?

It's probably being pre-empted for election coverage next week, but still, every missed week hurts.
Next week ABC is airing "Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop!" during the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. timeslot. I think scheduling is becoming a somewhat moot point in terms of ratings. Less and less people watch live TV. Many folks either legally stream/download, DVR, or illegally download/torrent the shows they want to watch. The current 'ratings' system is not equipped to handle all those factors. It's extremely outdated.
Counter point, it's also the way adverts are sold, and the adverts pay for the show production. So as outdated as the Nielsen system is (and just about everybody in the industry agrees it's outdated) it's the only thing which ultimately matters as to if a show is immediately profitable right now.
This past February my househould finished it's two year stint as a Neilsen family. It is definitely not a perfect system. There's several ways a viewing family can misreport what they are watching. For instance, when you turn the TV on, you are supposed to push a button for each person viewing the show. Each person in the family has their own button. After 40 minutes, the lights on the Neilsen box start flashing and you are supposed to push the buttons again. If you don't see it flashing, or you ignore just it for whatever reason, the ratings for that time slice don't get reported.

Also, if you don't watch something within 7 days of it being aired, it doesn't count toward the ratings.
My parents are going to keep a Nielsen diary during November Sweeps this year. My mother refuses to watch anything live (except on PBS) because she can't stand sitting through the commercials. I was going to remind them to watch their DVR'd shows (especially AoS and Grimm) within 3 days so they count in the C3 ratings. But they're both in their 70's, so they don't count for anything other than the total viewer numbers.

[ edited by AndrewCrossett on 2014-10-29 19:32 ]
Doesn't apply so much to the diary system, but for automated DVR data collection they record how long you took to watch an episode - so if you skip through the ads, it doesn't count as a view.
Seriously, though... who watches a show on DVR and doesn't skip through the ads?

There are tons and tons and tons of commercials. And then when the commercials are over, they throw a huge banner ad across the bottom third of the screen so you can watch more commercials right while the show is running.

Watching TV didn't used to be so aggravating.
Oh, it's because of the amount of people who skip adverts (that didn't used to be easily possible) that you see adverts appear on screen. You may also notice people driving to a location in a Nissan car in a pointless scene, phoning somebody on the Nokia branded phone for no reason, and then using a Microsoft Surface tablet to obtain readily known information. Bing it!.
Very soon, we will see a constant advertising crawl appear along the bottom of our TV screens at all times.

Around the same time they start inserting commercial intermissions into theatrical movies.
Andrew, many people watch the ads even with DVR playback because they can't be bothered to grab the remote or are simultaneously on their phone, computer, ipad or whatever their second screen of choice is. There is 16-18 minutes of commercials and promos in a 60 minute program. Nielsen data goes down to the individual ad (30 sec or 15 sec spot), so placement within a block is important. The granularity with which this is all dissected is pretty intense.

Also, to beat my dead soapbox horse, none of this actually important information will ever be public. So we will never know what is really going on and what is really being counted/paid for. The data in the link for this thread is a tiny tiny immaterial misleading indicator of the financial health of the show.

But by all means, carry on.
IrrationaliTV, I don't want you to feel like you're talking in a vacuum. The only reason I read these threads is to see if you have anything to say, as the one informed and intelligent voice of reason. I know so little about these things that I rarely see the point of discussing them myself.

Though I do fall to the same picnic as everyone else when my own show is on the line and I'm hoping it gets renewed so that I, and many others I love to work with, get more work. There's some psychological comfort to be had in checking the weekly numbers, as if you've done all you could to help by taking a look.

As you say, carry on. :)
Honestly, I'd love any form of intermission at movies so I could get a chance to relieve my bladder during some of the lengthier features. Especially with beverage size at theaters nowadays.
bobw1o, thanks for that. In my job I probably receive a minimum of a dozen internal emails a day on ratings. Fasties (overnights), Overnight +SD, adjusted, L3, L7, C3, C7, VOD it goes on and on. :) So I totally get the need to check the numbers. They are important to one aspect of a show's finances but I also have the luxury of seeing how ad revenue fits into the whole picture. I realize I'm in a unique position and my tone should be taken lightly because I don't mean to come off as annoyed as I probably seem in print.

I totally understand the need as a fan to obsess over the ratings of a show. Hell, that's the reason I got into this business in the first place. :)
Hey IrrationalTV, I try to buy the episodes of this (and other shows I like) on iTunes, partially as a no-hassle way to rewatch them since I don't have a DVR, and partially to support the show. Is this an effective way to support a show I like?
Actually I think the Nielsens aren't that bad a measure given the limitations on what's really feasible atm. Years ago total viewing
numbers were important but that's not been the case since the end of the purge in 1972. Since then its the demo that counts and only
the demo that matters. If you aren't in it you are SOL.
Thankfully, networks are no longer just going by ratings/demos. Take COMMUNITY. That show stayed on NBC for five years because of its vocal fanbase- not the ratings (which were generally dismal).
PaperSpock, that is a great tangible and easily recognized by everyone involved way to support a show. One of the best ways really.
I just rewatched Shield while making dinner and forgot that I could fast forward the commercials. So yeah, I'm lazy and watch ads. Go figure.
JDL, one of my shows, which just got picked up for more episodes, has a terrible share of "the demo". The very obvious reason why is that the show is aimed at teenage girls and LGBTQ. Of course "THE demo" exists because that's the usual target, not saying you're totally off base. I'm just saying that things are changing, networks are learning that if they target other demographics, those demographics will watch TV, and advertisers will pay to advertise.

One of my other shows is def aimed at the demo, but this year it exploded in viewership because of the success of one woman that attracted a ton of female (and male) viewership.

As an 18-49 year old male though, I just want my fast cars, hot chicks, and 'splosions. Yay AoS!!! ;)
libradude I'm just not sure that what might have happened to Community applies here. 1) it was a 30 minute show which means
the network had to consider the other show in that hour time slot, plus comedies are an especially hard get anymore, and
2) it was in its 3rd year when the rumbling became pronounced. Neither applies well to AoS's situation.

[ edited by JDL on 2014-10-30 03:11 ]
FTR, I'm one of those people that watch ads on DVR. And it is because I can't be bothered to fast forward. Or I simply forget I'm watching a recording. But I've become more aware during election season because OMFG do I hate political ads!
There are dramas that have been renewed the past couple years despite mediocre to poor ratings as well (Hannibal comes to mind off the bat). Not arguing that ratings/demos aren't important- just saying they're not the ONLY factor at play anymore.
If you are a Nielsen household, what happens if you mute or turn the volume down for commercials?

And really, is the ratings system really an accurate measure of how people watch who are not slaves to the Nielsen box?

And when the scrolling ads at the bottom and commercials during movies in theaters happen, I plan to watch shadow puppets, and put on circuses in my backyard.
And really, is the ratings system really an accurate measure of how people watch who are not slaves to the Nielsen box?

In a word yes, its accurate within the margin of error. They test separately for just the sort of thing that you are talking about
here. Statisticians are paranoid about this sort of risk.
I always appreciate irrationaliTV's contribution to this thread (though I sometimes wonder how she resists the urge to just cut and paste), but today I would like to compliment "beat my dead soapbox horse." That made me laugh.
In theory they are accurate, but what if someone fails to press the button, because they are so engrossed in the show they are watching that they don't notice the blinking lights? And if they are worried about the blinking lights, does that mean they are not paying attention to the show?

And how many of those people walk out of the room to pee or get something to drink, or feed the dog, or whatever, while the commercials are on? Are Nielsen families not allowed to pee?

I still want to know if they can mute the commercials.
... but what if someone fails to press the button, because they are so engrossed in the show they are watching that they don't notice the blinking lights?

That does happen, especially if you maybe misplaced the remote and don't want to get up and go all the way to the TV or spend the time looking for the remote. There was one time I was sick, in bed, with the flu, my wife was at work and I had no I idea where the remote was. There was no way I was going to get out of bed to go push that goddamned button.

Sometimes you just tune it out and don't even realize the lights are blinking. Other times, it's just HIGHLY annoying and seems like you are constantly having to push those buttons. The 40 minutes just seems to fly by and your like "again, already?". ESPECIALLY if you are really engrossed in a good show or movie then the lights start blinking. It just takes you out of the moment and can be really irritating.

However, in all fairness, that was not the norm. In fact, after a while, pushing the button became almost a pavlovian response where we would see the lights flash and automatically reach for the Neilsen remote reflexively.

Furthermore, if you let it flash too much, they will actually call you and ask you what the problem is. Conversely, if you don't use your TV for an extended period of time (several days) they will also call you to see what's up. In fact, if you go on vacation, you are supposed to let them know before hand so that they can expect not to receive data.

Then of course there is the testing. Probably twice a year they come in and test each device that has a Nielsen box on it to make sure they are receiving the right signals, and that process can take hours.

As for muting the commercials, you can do whatever you want. They tell you they merely want to observe your viewing habits without interfering with them. If muting or fast forwarding commercials is what you normally do, that's what they want to know.

All in all, I do believe it is a pretty accurate, if not antiquated, way to determine what is being watched and when. Additionally, everyone involved in the process was very professional and extremely courteous, which is always a plus.

[ edited by Penthos on 2014-10-30 15:13 ]
Everyone knows Nielsen is flawed. Everyone. However, no one has a better (mutually agreed upon) way for the ad buyers and the ad sellers to agree upon the many billions of dollars that change hands. Once that happens (don't hold your breath), Nielsen will be dropped like a hot potato. Until then we are stuck with it because how "engaged" your fandom is and the "quality" of your show doesn't get anyone paid. Neither does twitter, facebook, tumblr, instagram, piracy, or anecdotes about how all your friends are doing XYZ. :) It's only bullshit, marketing and PR.
Nielson sent me an offer to become a "Nielson Family" two years ago. Sadly, I was too lazy and procrastinated my opportunity away. I'm not sure that I would have been accepted anyway, since I have not owned a television or had a cable or satellite link for the past nine years. (Wonderful demographics profiling, Nielson!)

I'm guessing there is no box I could have checked to say that I watch "AoS" on Amazon Instant Video?
My family was sent a Nielsen diary once. My dad refused to participate (we didn't watch any TV then anyway) and also refused to mail the diary back, saying it was their fault for not asking first. From what I remember, the person he talked to didn't know how to respond to someone not wanting to participate.

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