About a month ago I was going through our mail and I spotted a Nielsen envelope. Giddy, I ripped into it like a kid on Christmas morning and freed the wrinkled single dollar bills from the envelope.
For those of you living under a rock and wondering what the hell I’m talking about, let me explain. Nielsen is the private company that is universally known for researching and compiling TV ratings. The process is pretty simple. They mail out diaries to random people and ask them to record what shows and movies they watch over the course of a week. Some of the diaries are mailed back and they compile all of the information and determine what’s popular and what’s not. They then sell that information to advertisers who use it to better target their ads to the proper demographics. Shows with low viewership, don’t attract many advertisers, and usually end up getting cancelled.
What I had received in the mail a month ago was a simple survey asking me if I wanted to do a week long viewing log/diary. Included in that initial survey was $2 in cash to encourage me that it was worth my time. Well, I spent all of 2 minutes filling out the survey online and went about my day.
Yesterday, I saw a thick Nielsen envelope in the mail. To my delight, there was $30 inside along with the extended survey forms. We could have tossed the forms in the trash and kept the $30, but a part of me cannot resist supporting (and crushing) certain tv shows. So if you are a fan of reality tv, you can blame me when your favorite shows get the ax.