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Can cable companies determine viewership?

  1. Jan 5, 2010 #1
    Is it possible for TV cable companies to count the households tuned into, say, the Super Bowl or particular commercials?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2010 #2

    mgb_phys

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    Not for regular cable with the tuner in the TV
    For digital cable (with a box) then they technically can, wether they bother depends on if they think the value to advertisers is worth the cost of the infrastructure, and how bad they think the consumer backlash would be
     
  4. Jan 5, 2010 #3

    russ_watters

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    I have no doubt that the digital cable companies do it. The information is far to valuable and easy to collect for them not to.
     
  5. Jan 5, 2010 #4

    Moonbear

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    I wonder if they'd use it for good or evil? :uhh: What I mean is they could use viewer information to decide what channels people really aren't watching to cut them and keep costs down, while being sure they preserve the ones people do watch, or at least they know they are justified in raising rates if a particular network raises their fees and they pay it to keep them. On the other hand, they could use that information to move the more popular channels to the more expensive, premium packages to coerce their subscribers to spend more or be stuck with stuff they don't want to watch.

    If they can do it, I suspect they really probably apply a little of both.
     
  6. Jan 5, 2010 #5

    russ_watters

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    AKA, basic market research. I would expect that to be the primary purpose of collecting such information. It really isn't any different from a supermarket tracking general sales patterns and using that info to rearrange the store or adjust pricing and product selection.

    [googling]

    Unsurprisingly, it is set to become much more specific:
    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_27/b3941093.htm [Broken]

    This is, of course, already done on the internet.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. Jan 5, 2010 #6

    russ_watters

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    http://www.frankwbaker.com/who's_really_watching.htm
     
  8. Jan 5, 2010 #7
    I'm glad I don't have a portfolio full of Nielsen* stock. :D




    *=I know it's a private company, but I still don't want a portfolio full of Nielsen Media Research, Inc. stock.
     
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