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March 3rd, 2010, 04:52 PM
The Neilson ratings I believe are based on a combination of meters and manual surveys of only 25,000 homes.

No wonder great shows keep getting canceled. I know in many cases, companies are surprised at high DVD sales of TV shows they thought few people liked.

I wonder how recording affects things as well. I watch almost no "live" tv now, instead I record everything and watch it later. I skip through most commercials and only watch a few that catch my eye. (I always watch the Mac vs PC guys commercials).

So if in some of these 25,000 homes people are watching a recorded show from a week ago, what does the meter say is being watched? And if they are watching a DVD of a great show that was unfortunately canceled instead of new crappy shows, would anyone even know?

I heard that when the ratings company tried to move to more meters instead of surveys, the networks were horrified to find that the cable stations were ranked much higher than them, so they made the rating company chang it back so that their advertisers wouldn't know how poor their ratings were.

You would think Science Fiction lovers would be a good target audience. We are the early adopters, the gadget buyers, and most of us do buy DVDs of shows and movies we love.

Perhaps the problem is that the ratings is that:

* They are based on too few households to give a real picture of how much people like a show
* They miss niche target markets like Science Fiction lovers who are good marketing prospects but a smaller group than the general populace
* They don't also monitor how many people are watching the show by recording or DVD.

With so many shows out there, many of us miss them for the first season or so and then have them recommended to us later.

For example, I missed Heros entirely and purchased Seasons 1-3 recently and am watching from the beginning.

So now I am a loyal fan, but just a few years behind. If many people are like me, many great shows get canceled because we don't find them right away.