Mailbag: How come you didn't write about XYZ? (Example: competition for Nielsen from Rentrak)

Categories: Thoughts

Written By

December 23rd, 2009

I'd tell you I hate to rant, but a.) that's a lie and b.) none of you would believe me!

But especially during the holidays and especially ahead of a long post on "why I am worried about Chuck" that could be perceived as a bit grinch-like, I don't want to go off on a rant...

But, oh well!

There Are Lots of Stories Out There

We sometimes get comments about why we didn't write about something or there's something that we should be writing about.  And sometimes they're not even from the crazy guy who thinks every frakking little iteration of The Jay Leno Show is the most important and monumental story ever!  If another local affiliate breathes wisps of Jay Leno dissatisfaction the crazy guy wants to know why we aren't covering that very important story. 

Not Every Story Is As Important To Us As It Is To You

The answer in the case above is simple: we don't think it is that important.  Now, if a local affiliate steps up and says they won't be airing Jay Leno show at 10pm anymore, or NBC makes some announcement about Leno, we will cover that.  But yet more anonymous affiliates claiming dissatisfaction paired with competitors (who allow themselves to be named) laughing at them?  That's not a new development or really a story at all.

Our Primary Focus Is Show Renewal and Cancellation Prospects

Generally we try to cover everything that might cover a show's fate, from the ratings to the scheduling to schedule changes to any public comments by executives or people involved with a show that allow for some tea-leaf reading.  We cover a lot of other stuff too, but mostly it's the intersection of what we're interested in, what is going on at the time and how much time we have.  Since it's just Bill and myself, and sometimes only one of us is around and shocking as it is, sometimes neither one of us is around!

While we hope to be comprehensive and timely with our niche of ratings and renewal and cancellation prospects, and think we usually do a pretty good job of that we don't have any aspirations of covering every single story in the TV biz.

Douche Magnet

I just got the following e-mail:

I don't want to believe you guys are shills for Nielsen, but exactly how much are they paying you?  A big story on competition to Nielsen comes out, and you don't even cover it.  This is an extremely important story and its lack of inclusion on your site showcases how small-time you are.

Whenever I see stuff on this I always think "Damn, if it's so important to you, wouldn't it make more sense for YOU to blog about it and give your analysis and then send us a link to your story?"

Mostly It's Probably The Holidays, But No, I Didn't Think That Story Is As Important As the E-mailer

I think the above referenced story where Sinclair is signing up for a trial of a new Rentrak service is interesting, but not hugely important.   Could it be important some day?  Sure.  Today, just mildly interesting and completely uninteresting to almost all of our readers who mostly want to know "is XYZ show coming back next year!"  I think retransmission consent, that online video will soon have many more commercials and the measurement of that are more interesting and more important, but our readers mostly don't care about those topics either!

Rentrak is doing a trial based on set top box data.  Sinclair has signed up for the trial with some of its stations with an option to include more stations.  If successful, Nielsen could indeed have some competition on its hands in the local markets.  But what happens a lot with this kind of thing is that station groups like Sinclair try it out and decide they couldn't move the needle with advertisers enough based on the new data to justify the expense.   Whether that will be the case here, time will tell.

If Rentrak Starts Releasing Data They'll Get A Lot More Coverage On Our Site

Rest assured that if and when Rentrak is producing as much publicly available data as Nielsen, we will certainly publish it.  We'd also happily be the exclusive provide of Rentrak top 20 lists on the Internet, at least if we didn't have to pay for it.  But for all the gobs and gobs and gobs of set top box data out there, we have seen only wisps of it, there is no regular reporting of data and although we have had some conversations with alternate providers of data when it comes to "so, do you have any data we can regularly run with" we'll get a lot of "let me see what we can put together" chatter that never results in anything.

If Chuck Has Lousy Nielsen Ratings But Is Saved By Rentrak data,  It Will Be The Top Story...Forever

More importantly, so far we've never seen a single case of "Show X had lousy ratings on Nielsen, but the results differed so vastly from the data from NotNielsen that they renewed the show because the NotNeilsen data was so much better and the advertisers have been convinced, at least in this case, to use the NotNielsen data!"

If that ever happens, not only will it be our site's top story, it will result in at least hundreds of posts.

 
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