Saturday, November 26, 2005

Future of Ratings

Other people research ratings. Not me. For someone who grew up in an advertising agency, I am not much of an expert. But I do know a thing or two about people and data collection. Ratings always have seen inherently flawed to me. The assumption that people will (or even can) keep a diary of their media use is absurd on its surface. (Read some educated comments about ratings here). The ratings companies are acknowledging this with high-technology devices that will pick up inaudible tones from the broadcast signal. Finally, something that sounds plausible.

This topic came to mind because of some actual data. During class the other day, someone talked about a Web-based study where participants kept diaries about use. The interesting factor involved checks that asked the participants when they filled out the diaries. However, since it was Web-based, they knew when the diaries were really filled out. And, as you might surmise, people lied like dogs. "Sure, I filled it out each day."

Of course the whole thing would not matter, except ratings drive media money. Magazines are already scrambling to adjust figures, and it appears that electronic media eventually will have to follow suit.

At this point, I apologize for an incredibly boring post. Clouds cover the sky, after all. The ratings discussion was motivated by reading a colleague's paper describing a hidden Markov model attempting to capture channel changing behavior. And trust me, that paper thumps this post for interest value.


Anonymous DoYouKnowWhoIAm? said...

:)I'm still modifying the model. It seems more interesting to me now. BTW, I like the name of your lab!

10:45 PM  

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