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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Media, Damned Lies and Statistics 

NIELSEN REPORTS STARTLING PEOPLE-METER FINDINGS

The piece linked above from Advertising Age drove me crazy. You have to read down to the fourth graf before you find that the "startling changes in TV viewership over the last year among 18- to 34-year-olds" are the result of "changes to the meters' ability to track overall local viewership more accurately."

What's startling about that? Theoretically more accurate information provides a different result than theoretically less accurate information? Hmm.

Grab: Kathy Crawford, president of local broadcast for WPP Group's MindShare, said she thinks the numbers represent measurement improvements, not real changes in viewing patterns. "This is more right, more right than wrong, but I can’t tell you if it's absolutely right," she said. "It more right than the metered diaries."

And yet the piece spends a lot of time focused on the startling theoretical increases in TV viewership among 18- to 34-year-olds in a variety of local markets.

Isn't the real story the pathetic information sources used to make billions of dollars in local TV buys?

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