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Chains of Gold
Chains of Gold
Marketing the Ratings and Rating the Markets

"Broadcasters are bound to ratings with chains of gold which they are reluctant to break..." --Oren Harris, House of Representatives This comprehensive exploration of the evolution of broadcast ratings documents the experiences of ratings pioneers from past to present as they have developed a standardized network and local market ratings vocabulary. Buzzard traces the rise of Nielsen and Arbitron to their present position of dominance in the ratings business and also ties conceptual changes in the methods and terminology used to measure audiences to advertising and marketing and the competitive factors that shaped them.


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excerpt the business implications of a shift or a change in the currency could be staggering. One truism in media market research is that different methodologies produce different ratings and different portraits of audiences. And these differences could mean millions of dollars won or lost if a new methodology were adopted. 148 on 5/31/2019, 4:19:57 PM

tag-as Good (brief) summary of radio broadcast networks on 6/2/2019, 7:50:00 PM

excerpt Audience research was guesswork and no dependable yardstick existed to measure what the advertiser got for his money. 10 on 6/2/2019, 7:54:25 PM

references Crossley ratings on 6/2/2019, 7:56:17 PM

excerpt Crossley's survey technique was called *quota sampling*, in which desired samples sizes, or quotas, are established for vaious subclasses, such as age, sex and income, to ensure that characteristics of the sample are distributed in the same proportion as the characteristics of the population. 12 on 6/2/2019, 7:58:32 PM

references Daniel Yankelovich on 6/2/2019, 8:00:13 PM

tag-as Weaknesses with Crossley's ratings were (1) it depended on participants being home at the time of the call and (2) the focus on *identified listening audience* (those who could remember listening to the program). Hooper's method measured percentages of the *available audience* and therefore could compare on time period to another, from one program to another, from one week to the next. 15 on 6/2/2019, 8:05:13 PM

excerpt Average audience ratings meant that audience flow in and out of a program could be tracked and programs compared since the available audience was the base for all comparisons. 15 on 6/2/2019, 8:06:59 PM

references C. E. Hooper on 6/2/2019, 8:14:10 PM

references Hoop of Hooperatings on 6/2/2019, 8:17:53 PM

cites Trends toward Mechanization of Radio Advertising on 6/2/2019, 8:22:19 PM

excerpt There is no denying the fact that mechanization had effected remarkable reduction in the cost of producing goods. However, the continued improvement in the American standard of living requires substantial reductions in the cost of distributing goods from manufacturers to consumers, and I have long suspected that in the distribution field, too, the principle of mechanization could be applied with telling effect. on 6/2/2019, 8:25:13 PM

excerpt The mechanical recorder was an audience feedback system. 22 on 6/2/2019, 8:27:36 PM

excerpt The declared purpose of Nielsen was to develop a stratified sample. While quota samples were not randomly selected, a stratified sample applied randomness to sample subdivisions. Internal consistency was achieved by statistically controlling eight dimensions: the number of radio homes, family size, geographical location, size of locality, income, occupation, race, and telephone ownership. A stratified sample attempted to include proportional representation of every important element of the radio audience. 23 on 6/2/2019, 8:31:24 PM

excerpt Industrialization was based on undifferentiated marketing but companies now turned to differentiated marketing, targeting carefully defined consumer segments with products designed just for them. 33 on 6/2/2019, 8:38:01 PM

excerpt The advertiser was willing to sacrifice some accuracy for breadth of information: more knowledge about who watched what, who bought what, and which audience was the most fertile ground for his message. 34 on 6/2/2019, 8:42:52 PM

tag-as ABC lead the trend on shared sponsorship, "enabling several advertisers to share the cost of a show" and dropped the "must buy" policy ("which required the advertiser to buy time on a certain minimum of stations, even if some of them were poor markets for his product") 35 on 6/2/2019, 8:46:01 PM

excerpt ... pick-and-choose approach reduced the cost of TV advertising, and also reduced sponsor control of content and scheduling. 38 on 6/2/2019, 8:50:23 PM

references Participatory sponsorship on 6/2/2019, 8:51:37 PM

excerpt This format was to see its logical evolution in one-minute participations, which were introduced in times bordering prime time as early as 1954. ... Minute participations appealed to new and limited-budget advertisers because it minimized risks in untried or new programs. 38 on 6/2/2019, 8:53:49 PM

excerpt Cost was always an important factor in the new forms of advertiser participation. Television was expensive only as long as it continued to use the same buying policy as network radio. In the radio pattern of sponsorship, the smallest unit of time available was a fifteen-minute block, for a minimum of $50,000, which eliminated the small advertiser. 39 on 6/2/2019, 8:56:23 PM

excerpt Participatory buying and other multiple sponsorship patterns, together with a new pricing policy called *cost per thousand (CPM) theory* (which sold programs based on the thousands of viewers reached) led to programming and sales based solely on audience size, not content. 39 on 6/2/2019, 9:03:56 PM

excerpt Sponsors lost control of production and time periods. The sponsor's influence was reduced to two options -- to buy or not to buy -- because he could no longer control or adjust the content or use television programs as a vehicle to promote sponsor identification. As a result, the role of ratings grew. No longer personally involved in program production, sponsors had to rely on rating information in placing their commercials. 42 on 6/2/2019, 9:10:56 PM

references Sixth Report & Order on 6/2/2019, 9:13:34 PM

authored-by Karen Buzzard on 6/2/2019, 9:49:23 PM

excerpt A measure of minute-by-minute audience, together with a fixed sample, permitted Nielsen to measure program flow, or the number of homes tuning in and out during and between programs. Advertisers and programmers used audience flow to evaluate the different parts of a program and how contiguous programs affected these parts. Networks analyzed audience flow between competing, preceding, and following programs to determine the specific type and quality of homes that could be attracted to programs. Minute-by-minute audience flow also helped advertisers plan commercial placement, evaluate audience duplication and write commercial copy. 55 on 6/2/2019, 9:56:03 PM

excerpt Because the Audimeter yielded no demographic information by individuals, socioeconomic data was fleshed out from the metered household at time of installation. 56 on 6/2/2019, 10:00:07 PM

excerpt Nielsen believed that the then-current system of advertising pricing was a holdover from before the development of audience research capable of measuring audience size. CAB and Hooper provided rating indices only, and not projectable rating services. Nielsen said this system led to charging two competing advertisers identical prices and then delivering seven times as many viewers to on advertiser as another. 57 on 6/2/2019, 10:02:33 PM


Television by the numbers: The challenges of audience measurement in the age of Big Data cites Chains of Gold on 5/31/2019, 4:12:26 PM

Ratings analysis cites Chains of Gold on 2/9/2020, 9:20:20 PM