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The Nielsen TV ratings data flaw

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(Me IRL, reconstructing Nielsen Data Flaw timeline.)

There are many criticisms of Nielsen’s system of tv-viewing measurement (self-reported data, paper diaries, tiny samples…i could go on…), but they’re rarely publicly acknowledged by Nielsen itself.

This week, they admitted to an error that lasted over six months.

As somebody intensely confused by the internalized legitimacy of Nielsen and traditional television (compared to Internet video + its larger and more precisely targeted variety of measurement options), I’ve been infatuated with this story. 

If you’re interested in this stuff, you can eavesdrop/follow my note-taking process on Storify, whose platform is pretty decent for collecting links, tweets, pictures, and filling stuff in with notes. 

I’ve also embedded the storify at the very bottom of this post, but since embedding isn’t 100% neat + tidy, it’s probably best to just view directly on Storify’s site.

Scroll down to read perzadook's notes on this. He makes some great points about this probably just being tip of the Nielsen data iceberg.

Note 1: Storify does not automatically refresh changes, so hit refresh to see any changes made. I put a timestamp at top of the doc, so you don’t need to squint for “what changed?!?!”

Note 2: I’m aware of Reddit’s Reddit Live tool. It also allows you to collect notes + objects from a variety of sources, but haven’t played with it enough yet to know if it’s a good fit for something that’s 1) authored by just one person 2) not “breaking” 3) looks decent embedded. However, I’m aware that it automatically refreshes, unlike Storify. That’s got me interested. 

(image credit: crazywalls)

perzadook:

Nielsen data flaw timeline (with tweets) · bluechoochoo

The short story here is that Nielsen has been reporting bad data. They serve a $70 billion ad industry, so when data is bad, lots of people lose money (or “earn” when they shouldn’t).

And since the actual TV show ratings are messed up that could, in theory, lead to an entire show being cancelled. It all just depends on how screwed up the data is. 

The longer story is that It’s highly unlikely this is the only case of bad data. Advertisers and networks have long been suspicious of Nielsen reporting. And companies like comScore and Rentrak are slowly eating away at Nielsen’s complete dominance over TV ratings. When respected companies like these two come up with different ratings, that’s a problem.

So, is this a concerted effort to take down the king? Probably not, but it’s definitely a surgical strike of sorts. Stayed tuned to bluechoochoo's storify link above.

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How to create a social trends dashboard tutorial (this morning)

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Using importio (helps you extract data from web sites) + Google Spreadsheets, I recently created a “trends dashboard” that helps you look at trends from YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine, Google, and more.

Lotsa people have asked me about how to do it, and though I’ll continue to share/write up stuff, the people from Importio are hosting a webinar THIS MORNING, with a how-to about this very thing.

While the webinar is inspired by my dashboard, it does not involve me (they have my blessing/enthusiasm, tho.). I have no professional relationship with Importio, and their tool is currently free.

No hard sell. 

This is just straight up learning, people.

It’s at 10AM Pacific. That’s one hour, forty-five minutes from now.

now, scram.

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Scandal dominated Twitter Trending Topics last night.
Context:
The red “Paid” is a paid-for Twitter Promotion Trending Topic that a brand bought. When Twitter sells one of these, it takes one of the ten spots for trending topics, so there are only spots for 9 organic trending topics after that.
Anything pink is related to Scandal. (A good example of how just “pattern matching” primary keywords is often insufficient to capture chatter. You can’t just count “#Scandal or “#ABCScandal.”)
Not pictured: How hilarious Scandal tweeters are. Many of them are my friends, and should be writing their own TV shows. 

Scandal dominated Twitter Trending Topics last night.

Context:

The red “Paid” is a paid-for Twitter Promotion Trending Topic that a brand bought. When Twitter sells one of these, it takes one of the ten spots for trending topics, so there are only spots for 9 organic trending topics after that.

Anything pink is related to Scandal. (A good example of how just “pattern matching” primary keywords is often insufficient to capture chatter. You can’t just count “#Scandal or “#ABCScandal.”)

Not pictured: How hilarious Scandal tweeters are. Many of them are my friends, and should be writing their own TV shows. 

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Would the Apple keynote win a TV Ratings battle? Probs.

TL;DR, tech keynotes, like Apple’s + Google’s, have a live viewing audience size comparable to/greater than cable news airing at same time.

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Some notes on how I broke down this estimate with little public data (I welcome any more data to fill this out more).

GETTING THE GOOGLE I/O AUDIENCE SIZE

In June, Google hosted a 9am keynote for their IO developer conference. Since they used YouTube, the concurrent viewer number was visible, and I took a screenshot.

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GETTING APPLE AUDIENCE SIZE

That same month, Apple had its own developer keynote, with livestream.

It’s fair to say that Apple events seem more popular/highly anticipated than Google product events. Since Apple viewing data is not public, I decided to compare social share info (FB shares, FB Likes, twitter shares, LinkedIn shares) of both events’ keynote URLs, and extrapolate from that the size of Apple’s live video audience.

If my Apple number ends up being wildly innaccurate, I’d guess it much higher, not lower, coz I rounded down.

TV NEWS DATA

I got Nielsen data for CNBC, Fox Business, and Fox News (FNC), from TVNewser.

I compared the tech keynotes primarily with cable financial/business news coz it seemed most similar in format/content.
As the chart above shows, even the smaller Google keynote has a larger audience than the financial news networks during that time slot.

I also threw in, for scale, the number one rated cable news (not just business news) show in that slot, Fox News’ Outnumbered. Being such a big show, Outnumbered has significantly more viewers than the tech keynotes.

Or does it?

When you look at the “key demo" (viewers 25-54), even FNC’s Outnumbered gets beat by the likely Apple audience size, and the Google keynote gets competitive, too.

If you have access to any data you think could fill this in more, hit me up on twitter- @bluechoochoo

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[update: added Buzzfeed trends]
As blogged yesterday I’ve started extracting Tumblr trends with importio. (Long story.)
I’m not yet 100% sure importio actually saves me thaaat much work, but I’ve committed to really learning it (and its peer/competitor, Kimono Labs), before just scraping things myself (did i say, “scraping?” i meant extracting.).
In the screenshot above, I’ve created a lil’ dashboard in Google Spreadsheets of:
Tumblr Trends
Twitter Trends
Google Search Trends

[update: added Buzzfeed trends]

As blogged yesterday I’ve started extracting Tumblr trends with importio. (Long story.)

I’m not yet 100% sure importio actually saves me thaaat much work, but I’ve committed to really learning it (and its peer/competitor, Kimono Labs), before just scraping things myself (did i say, “scraping?” i meant extracting.).

In the screenshot above, I’ve created a lil’ dashboard in Google Spreadsheets of:

  • Tumblr Trends
  • Twitter Trends
  • Google Search Trends