Okay, I’m exaggerating slightly when I say they admitted this. But they are, and they know it, and so does everyone else, and now they’re disguising a glaring past mistake as something that, once corrected, will “add to the accuracy” of their results. Are you ready for this? Hold on.
From now on, when they make you a Nielsen household and let your viewing habits help determine the entirety of TV programming for the United States, they’re also going to count the viewing habits of your kids who are away at college.
Let’s break this down. This means they weren’t counting college kids before, unless they lived at home. But… aren’t college kids part of the precious 18-25 and 18-34 target audiences whose preferences govern the entire market? Then… well… how have they been telling us all along what this demographic wanted to see if they weren’t fully polling the demographic? I will now consult the Voice of Nielsen that lives in my head to help me out with these complex and confusing arguments.
VoN: “Well, we were counting some 18-25 year olds.”
Me: “Yes. The ones who were living with a family that has a Nielsen box.”
VoN: “You got it, peaches. Say, you fill out that sweater nicely. Wanna come sit on Uncle Niely’s lap?”
Me (automatically ignoring that): “So, basically, you only give boxes to households – which kind of leaves out singles as well as kids at school. That means your insistence that the 18-25 demographic wants to see X has really just been based on what families watch when they have a kid in that age group at home? You’ve been using a really narrow subsection of a demographic and claiming it tells us what 18-25 year old kids in general want to see. You do realize you just proved me right about you, don’t you?”
VoN: “Uh… could you say the middle part again? The one where you started using that big D word?”
Me: *bangs head on desk, thinks better of it and bangs their heads on a desk*