Archives For TV Shows

Beyond Nielsen TV Ratings

Brent Evans —  October 23, 2007

Nielsen, TiVo and Snapstream Media. One of those three is well known for tracking television viewership, but the other two: TiVo and Snapstream Media (makers of the Beyond TV PC DVR software) are not as well known in this realm, but offer a more transparent and relatively useful snapshot of what Television Viewers like you and I are watching. Would you agree that Heroes and The Office are hit shows – at least better than Dancing with the Stars or 60 Minutes? Well you’d likely agree more with TiVo and Beyond TV users.

Since the early 1940’s the television and advertising industries have relied on Nielsen Media Research to measure the popularity and success of television programming. Nielsen continues to be the leading provider of this information and their list of the top TV shows by demographic are consistently highlighted in the media and watched closely by Advertisers and the Television Networks. While I’m still interested in what Nielsen is reporting as the top shows, I’m left wanting more.

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What the heck are you thinking, Netflix? I understand and support your goal to minimize disc theft, but you really need to do some more testing in the labs before unleashing this half-baked sticker scheme on your customers. Whatever human or machine applied the anti-theft measure didn’t properly center it on the bottom of the disc, leading my laptop DVD drive to noisily thrash around without video playback. Fortunately, with the help of a ragged fingernail and a Marriott washcloth I removed both the sticker and glue goop to watch Dexter. Good thing too, because I know how Dexter handles evildoers.

Where’s the HD?

Dave Zatz —  October 19, 2007

Chris, of Amazon Daily, and I were recently lamenting that we don’t receive many HD channels via Comcast (he’s in Seattle, I’m outside DC). Maybe it wouldn’t be so painful if we weren’t aware of other Comcast regions, such as New England, receiving at least a half dozen more HD channels – many of which we’d actually watch (CNN, Food, HGTV). However, this phenomenon isn’t limited to Comcast — Verizon has only added two FiOS TV HD channels (A&E, Fox Business) in recent months and EngadgetHD speculates they’re currently out of bandwidth. But even DirecTV’s massive offering of 70 HD channels (about 4x my count), isn’t entirely delivering yet… What percent of those provide true HD content and at what frequency? Heck, I was channel surfing last night and it looks like much (all?) of the national evening news is still 4:3. The studios, networks, and operators really need to get with the program…

starwars George Lucas confirmed he is working on a live-action television series spinoff of the Star Wars Movie Franchise. It won’t include any of the major characters from the movies – no Luke Skywalker and no Darth Vader. From the interview with Lucas:

“The Skywalkers aren’t in it, and it’s about minor characters,” Lucas said in an interview. “It has nothing to do with Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader or any of those people. It’s completely different. But it’s a good idea, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to do.”

Brent Evans enjoys sharing his tech/gadget/internet enthusiast musings online. Read more at BrentEvans Geek Tonic.

Prior to recording even the first episode, I dropped Bionic Woman. And after watching the debut last night of Discovery’s Last One Standing… I dropped it too. LOS is a reality show in which 6 athletes are shipped around the world to participate in “tribal games.” The problem is about half the locales/games involve combat (wrestling, martial arts, stick fighting), and I just don’t see the fitness professional, strongman, BMX racer, etc doing well. As someone who wrestled (and did judo) for many years, perhaps I’m biased – but for this show to work, they need a different sort of contestant with more experience in combat. (A lone kickboxer doesn’t cut it.) Or, they should just drop the whole physical challenge aspect and restrict the show to a fish-out-of-water cultural expose’ – that element was actually entertaining (shaman “healing” the strongman, contestants getting piranha-tooth epilation), whereas the wrestling was just embarrassing. As it stands, Last One Standing is some sort of perverse hybrid. And I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of these guys gets seriously injured. But maybe that’s their hook?

What shows have you already given up on?

TV Guide Evolves

Mari Silbey —  October 3, 2007


Last100 put a post up yesterday on TV Guide’s new online video guide, so I decided to check it out myself. Given all of the video search sites available, I didn’t have high expectations for something novel, but I was suitably impressed. TV Guide’s layout is fantastically simple and gave me exactly the information I was looking for.

Example: a search on the show “My Name is Earl” brought up a list of videos available starting with full episodes followed by short clips. Each selection listed the price of the video (usually free or 99 cents), the date posted and the show’s network. If you click on a link, TV Guide then takes you to the URL where the video is housed. In this case, it took me to NBC’s site to watch a free episode of the show. Easy peazy.

In comparison, look at what a search for “My Name is Earl” brought up on two other sites. (Click on thumbnails) Not nearly as useful. (though LocateTV isn’t bad…)

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marketing-shift-logo.pngIt’s not very politically correct, but I’ve always been fascinated by dead pools. I’ve never actually participated in one, but there is something about wagering on life and death that appeals to the degenerate gambler in me.Since I’m pretty sure that participating in a dead pool is illegal in San Francisco, I suppose that I will have to live with the next best thing, dead TV pools. Marketing Shift is putting on a contest where they are asking readers to try and pick ten of the new shows, that you think will be off the air by the end of the fall season.

The winner of the contest will be the first person to have all ten of their picks canceled. The winner will receive a little bit of link love from, but the loser ends up with an internship at Cat World the CW ;)

If you want to see a list of all the candidates for the pool, you’ll find it on Marketing Shift’s website, but here are my picks for their first annual TV dead pool contest: Continue Reading…

It was a long and boring summer for television this year, but with the fall TV schedule just around the corner, I’m starting to get excited about some of the new shows that are popping up. At the start of the summer, I thought that I would have lots of exciting new shows to check out, but with the exception of Burn Notice (which is freaking awesome), this summer’s crop of new shows was a major let down for me. Too much reality TV and not enough compelling fresh content.

Normally, the start of the Fall TV schedule is a pretty busy time for me. If I don’t catch a show from the very beginning, there is a good chance that I’ll never tune in, so I try to catch as many of the pilots as possible. I won’t end up subscribing to all the shows, but I like to check all of the new ones out, so that I can figure out which ones deserve a season pass. This year, this task got a little bit easier because a couple of the studios have been making some of their pilots available early.

Last week, NBC released free pilot downloads on Amazon’s Unbox service, for 4 of their upcoming shows. Not to be outdone, CBS decided to release an episode of the Big Bang Theory early. Over the weekend I checked out all five of the early releases and had some mixed reviews on the new shows.
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