Monthly Archives: February 2012

A Family Affair

How’s this for bizarre happenstance that makes no sense:

I spend my entire life plugged into the beheamoth that is the cable industry. For almost 3 decades, I have access to as many channels as God and Ted Turner want to give me. When DVR comes along, I grab it. Food Network HD? Pile it on!

Then, when the budget gets tight, I go cold turkey. Six months pass without that beautiful, overflowing chalice of color, noise and infinite distraction. Six months spent not trying to break the conundrum of “500 channels and nothing to watch?!?!” Six months of handpicking my entertainment, forcing me to actually think about what I’m putting in my brain.

At some point within that six months, I write a blog post about how inaccurate Nielsen ratings are. And now…here I am, filling out day one of my Nielsen diary. That’s right–of all the years I’ve been watching television, they choose 2012, the year of Internet television, to make me a Nielsen family.

Coincidence? Probably. But there’s part of me that hopes they heard my critique and will start to pay attention to people who get their television from the Internet. So far, though, it’s not looking good. They don’t even have a section in their survey where you can indicate that you have an Netflix or Hulu account.┬áThe shows you watch MUST correspond to a television channel.

As one of many unemployed freelance artists who is allergic to silence, my TV Set (yes, "SET") will be on all the time, except I'll be writing "N/A" in all the Channel Name and Number boxes.

In fact, the only indication I got that I hadn’t time warped back to the 90s was whisperings about special procedures for documenting DVR-recorded shows: what to do when you’re recording and watching, when you record without watching, when you watch the playback, etc. It was a relief…until half a sentence later, when they described the procedure for documenting shows you record on your VCR.

Give it up America, for the only television statistical analysis company in the country! If they can’t find the answer…ask someone else. ANYONE else.

Tune in next week, and I’ll show you what I spent my Nielsen week watching. I predict…RuPaul’s Drag Race, Monk, and a truly inappropriate amount of Cheers.