We all know that the number of people who watch a TV show influences its continuation or cancellation. When a show becomes popular with viewers, its ad prices dramatically increase. But how exactly do television network executives and advertisers know how many households are tuning in to price an ad placement? With the Nielsen rating program, stakeholders in the TV industry gather this valuable data and use it to make decisions that affect the future of each show and attract advertisers. Here's how it works.
The Sample Group
Nielsen, a firm that began measuring radio ratings before switching to TV in the 1950s, creates a sample group of about 41,000 households. These homes reflect the overall diversity of the United States, representing an accurate proportion of characteristics such as geographic location, race, gender, and age.
To find their sample, Nielsen selects a county, then specific towns within that county, then specific homes within the designated area. They reach out and ask each of the chosen homes to participate in the program.