Folks, something interesting happened the other day. Last Friday CBS announced that Jericho was going to be canceled, again! I happen to be a fan of the show in a time when the majority of TV is considered garbage in my mind. Most of you may recall what happened last time the canceled Jericho, the viewing community responded by sending boxes upon boxes of nuts to the studio. This action prompted CBS to bring the show back for a second season and see how the ratings do. This time around they averaged 6.8 million viewers.
6.8 million viewers seems great but isn’t to the TV community. Let’s look at what popular ratings are, wow, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (13.3 mill), SAMANTHA WHO? (9.6 mill), AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY (18.8 mill). In fact the 6.8 million Jericho viewers are just behind CRIMINAL MINDS, it just wasn’t enough.
This brings me to the real reason for this post. Neilsen is an archaic system. We use a sample group of 5k people to determine what 99 million homes are watching. With the vast technology we have at our disposal the best we can do is attach a little black box to someones cable line to determine what people like? In just that last few years we have developed Personal Video Recorders (DVR, PVR, Tivo), web streaming shows (cbs.com, hulu.com) and downloadable content (iTunes). Neilsen does no take into consideration any of these sources, in fact when CBS reinstated Jericho they asked people NOT to DVR/Tivo the show because they would not get accurate ratings. According to Tivo’s website Jericho was in the Top 25 most recorded shows (week ending in 3.25.2008). I would not be surprised if the total viewers on these three other mediums were well over another 1.5 – 2.5 million.
If i were Neilsen i would be looking at how i could roll new viewing methods into my ratings calculations.