For the first time, digital devices and streaming services (and the viewers that embrace them) will be incorporated into Nielsen’s industry standard ratings system.
Television ratings have long been a bit of a crapshoot, though they’re much more accurate than they used to be. Even so, today’s TV shows are still judged using a combination of three surprisingly inelegant methods. The first involves asking a sample group of people to self-record their viewing habits in a diary, which are sent to Nielsen, the ratings company, for standardization and aggregation. The second involves “set meters,” small devices connected to home television sets to record viewing habits, transmitted nightly over a land line. The third involves “people meters,” also connected to home television sets, which record and transmit viewing habits once an individual logs in.
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