Twitter: raymondcamden


Address: Lafayette, LA, USA

Welcome to the Nielsen Family - and 1960

07-30-2013 3,973 views Misc

Sorry folks - slow blog week. A few weeks ago I got a letter saying our household had been selected to be a Nielsen Family. For my readers who are international, this is a private company that for half a century now has been surveying the American public and what TV shows they watch. I've never known anyone who was part of the system, so to be honest, I thought it was kind of cool to be selected. About a week or so I got a small package from them and then promptly forgot about it. I just opened it now and - wow - talk about a company living in the past.

First - this is what came in the package:

I'll answer the question I know people are asking first. Yes, that's money. Real money. Five bucks. Kinda nice I suppose. They are definitely selling their research for quite a bit more than that.

But forget about that - check out that diary. Opening it up you've first got a multi-page survey about the TVs in your home. Apparently this diary is just for one week. I find it hard to believe they would ask you to fill that out every week. Sure - people get new TVs and get rid of TVs, but nothing in the documentation seems to imply that you can skip answering that portion after the first week. Oh - and they also ask you to name your local stations. Like that isn't publicly available information.

First strike.

Now check out the actual diary.

Well, to be clear, that's just the sample page. There's about 20 more pages of graphs like that. Insane. I can't believe anyone who has any life at all would actually fill this stuff out. Note it mentions VCR or DVD, but not DVR. (Although the initial survey does ask if you have a DVR.)

But wait - letter mentioned a web site - let's check it out: http://tvdiary.nielsen.com/. Lots of documentation. But this is what scares me:

From here, you can:

Find detailed instructions on filling out the diary.
Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
Provide feedback and thoughts on your TV Diary experience.

What one item is missing from that list? Oh yeah - filling out a diary online. Yeah. Done. That five bucks is going to my next Starbucks.