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Nielsen has decided to update its definition of a “television home” in order to change how it measures TV ratings.
For those of you who don’t know, Nielsen is the group behind ratings for your favorite shows. They measure the number of homes tuned in to certain shows, and until this point they only counted traditional viewing on actual TV's.
But now they’ve decided to count views through laptops and gaming consoles on websites like Hulu as well. Obviously, this is a decision long overdue (networks and advertisers agree). Many homes are “unplugging” and ditching their cable subscriptions, and plenty of young people never subscribed in the first place. Nielsen’s reluctance to update has put shows like the largely online-watched “Community” in hot water.
Networks have also been pushing to include tablet views, as well, but again, Nielsen is slow to the punch. Though testing is underway, tablets won’t be included until 2014 at the earliest. Why the slow uptake? In the digital age cable subscriptions are becoming obsolete, yet until this point networks have had to rely on ratings from a dying medium to keep themselves afloat.
Luckily change is finally happening. What does this mean for us? Well, for one, another “Community” situation could be prevented. Shows popular with young audiences have a better chance to thrive now that their online views are counted, which means fewer cancellations. And that’s good for all of us.