I'm told they will listen to the Intermission episode, so that's good, right?
Based on the available evidence, probably not.
For the record I'd like to reiterate that I know nothing about slashfilm, its podcast, or principal players. While I am tempted to get into detail over the most recent reply posted above - oh BOY am I tempted, even though I'm still not sure where it even came from - I'll hold back for now.
I will also reiterate that I am not a Nielsen "expert", nor am I a statistician by training. I do work in the industry, and I have a fairly good ability to spot logical fallacies. My interest in doing Nielsens as an Intermission topic was two-fold - first, to point out the oft-repeated claim that the Nielsens are meaningless is rarely presented with any valid evidence. Second - to talk about the oft-repeated parallel claim that streams and DVD sales and Hulu, etc, should be used instead.
The second is easier to refute than the first, because the data is more publicly available. As we said in the episode, and as this article also says, and as Craig Engler of Syfy says here, all those other metrics are indeed a "more accurate" measurement of viewers, because the data is not based on polling, but on a 1:1 ratio. If you buy a tv episode from iTunes, or watch it on Hulu, or stream it from Netflix, it counts.
All well and good, but as I and those other articles also point out, sadly it doesn't count the same as a Nielsen point, when it comes to deciding if a show stays on the air.
The first argument - that Nielsens are so flawed as to be meaningless - is harder to make, either for or against, because Nielsen doesn't give out a lot of info about their methodology (for obvious reasons, see also: Coke formula). But I haven't been trying to defend the accuracy of Nielsen's data, so much as pointing out the flaws in the so-called arguments against it. Which - I still maintain - are often based on false logic, anecdotal evidence, or cherry-picking data.
The "arguments" presented by the good folks from slashfilm, at least the ones reprinted here, contain enough examples of all three to keep us busy for quite a while. But I spent nearly a decade arguing with UFO believers about the alien autopsy, and this has a depressingly familiar ring to it. So I'll hold off for now, if it heats up when the episode actually goes live then maybe I'll get into it then.
But for now, I offer this as a topic for consideration:
Big Bang Theory airs directly opposite Community. Big Bang has been on the air for five years, and every year its ratings have risen, to the point that it is now one of the top ten shows on television. As a result, it has already been renewed not only for next year, but for the next three years.
If you share the widely-held belief that Nielsen ratings discriminate against "geek favorites", then explain the success of Big Bang Theory.
Extra credit: make a virtual field trip to a Big Bang Theory fansite of your choice, and see if they spend much time complaining about Nielsen discrimination there.
Last edited by Trey (2011-11-21 05:12:31)