History of the Media

Written by David Pakman

Continued from page 1

It was becoming financially difficult for just one advertiser to support an entire show.

Around this same time camerepparttar inception of ratings to measure a show's popularity. Ratings, quite simply, measurerepparttar 125869 number of people watching a show. To understand why ratings are so important, it's crucial to understand howrepparttar 125870 television industry works, through three questions, and their respective answers:


Who owns television? [The networks] 2.

What is sold on television? [Viewer's time, not television shows] 3.

Who arerepparttar 125871 customers of television? [Advertisers, not viewers]

This might be a counterintuitive concept for some. The networks, which own television, areHistory ofrepparttar 125872 Media - Old Televisionrepparttar 125873 buyers of shows, notrepparttar 125874 sellers. Onrepparttar 125875 other hand, they sell our eyeballs, so to speak, to advertisers. Networks wantrepparttar 125876 maximum possible profit from buying and selling time, both viewers' time, and advertisers' time.

The primary measure of television ratings, which determinerepparttar 125877 price of that time being bought and sold, is AC Nielsen, an independent company which provides information as to who watches what on television. Currently, about 4,000 households are used to representrepparttar 125878 national viewing of television. Inrepparttar 125879 1980's, only 1,200 households were used. Some households have an electronic device installed on their television which tracks what they watch, while others keep a diary of viewing habits.

There are two measures for determining a show's audience. One isrepparttar 125880 rating, andrepparttar 125881 other isrepparttar 125882 share.


Rating: Percentage of total homes with televisions tuned into a particular show. *

Share: Percentage of those watching television at a particular time who are tuned into a particular show.

The share is always greater thanrepparttar 125883 rating. Ratings are more important for advertisers, and share is more important torepparttar 125884 networks.



Total households with televisions: 150 million *

Total households watching television at 8pm on Monday nights: 90 million *

Total households watching American Idol at 8pm on Monday nights: 45 million *

Therefore: Rating: 30, Share: 50

It's important to note how many factors can skewrepparttar 125885 results. Shows cost producers much more thanrepparttar 125886 networks typically pay them for those shows. The way for producers to make money is by gettingrepparttar 125887 networks to renewrepparttar 125888 show, in order to have a shot at making money from syndication on other channels, also knows as reruns. That isrepparttar 125889 case when individual stations (say for example,repparttar 125890 Miami affiliate of ABC wants to carry Seinfeld), buyrepparttar 125891 rights to a show fromrepparttar 125892 producers of that show. Shows that last only one season, forrepparttar 125893 most part, lose millions of dollars. One ofrepparttar 125894 most important factors in whether shows will be renewed or not is their rating.

This brings us to how ratings can be skewed. For example, if a show has a 20 share, and it needs a 25 share to be renewed for another season, what mightrepparttar 125895 producers do? In principle, they need to convince another 5% ofrepparttar 125896 people watching television when their show is on to watch their show; this is no simple task, as that involves convincing millions of people. However, sincerepparttar 125897 ratings are based on those 4,000 Nielsen households, that means that they could convince just 200 Nielsen households to watch their show, which would increaserepparttar 125898 share from 20 to 25. This is why Nielsen households must be kept totally secret fromrepparttar 125899 networks. Whenrepparttar 125900 Nielsen households have leaked torepparttar 125901 networks, one way which they got people to watch their show was by offering viewers a small sum of money for filling out a survey about a commercial which they were told would play only during a particular show. Since they had to watch that channel while their show was on, this would boostrepparttar 125902 share.

Once ratings are determined, advertising prices are set by two factors:

* The size ofrepparttar 125903 audience. * The demographics (income, age, gender, occupation, etc) ofrepparttar 125904 audience.

In short,repparttar 125905 job of television programs is to collect our time as a product, which they then sell to advertisers. Programs have to supportrepparttar 125906 advertising, delivering viewers inrepparttar 125907 best possible state of mind for buying whenrepparttar 125908 time forrepparttar 125909 commercials comes, which brings us torepparttar 125910 Golden Age of Television.

The 1950's are consideredrepparttar 125911 "Golden Age of Television." During this time, something calledrepparttar 125912 "Anthology Series," where different actors each week took part in a show gained History ofrepparttar 125913 Media - I Love Lucypopularity acrossrepparttar 125914 board...that is, with everyone except for advertisers. The anthology series format was not right for advertisers, as it covered topics which involved psychological confrontations which did not leaverepparttar 125915 viewers inrepparttar 125916 proper state of mind for buyingrepparttar 125917 products shown to them between program segments. The subject matter ofrepparttar 125918 anthology series was ofrepparttar 125919 type that underminedrepparttar 125920 ads, almost making them seem fraudulent.

This brought uprepparttar 125921 question of what to network executives actually want shows to do? The answer is not to watch a program that makes them feel good, makes them laugh, or excites them, but rather to watchrepparttar 125922 television for a set amount of time. With so many new shows being proposed, standards began to be intentionally, or unintentionally, laid out for what shows could and couldn't do. Risks could only be taken atrepparttar 125923 beginning and/or end of shows. Laugh tracks were conceived to tellrepparttar 125924 audience when to laugh. Programs began being tested with audiences prior to being put on television and/or radio. Show writers now had to write shows that would test well.

Naturally, this caused many ofrepparttar 125925 same elements and themes to appear in all shows. This wasrepparttar 125926 beginning of recombinant television culture, whererepparttar 125927 same elements are endlessly repeated, recombined, and mixed.

This same culture is what perpetuatedrepparttar 125928 idea that people watch television, not specific shows. While people certainly choose to watch certain shows instead of others, people less commonly choose to watch television instead of other things. People watch television. Regardless of what was on, television viewing rates were extremely stable.

David Pakman is a student at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, and editor/administrator of politics and media website www.heartheissues.com.

Voters are to Blame for Bad Politics

Written by Terry Mitchell

Continued from page 1
Many voters make their ballot selections based on personal greed instead of what's best for their country, state, district, or locality. They will reserve their votes for politicians whom they think will give them things and/or make life easier for them. Of course, Politicians constantly exploit this greed by making outlandish promises. Once these politicians are elected, they either have to renege on those promises or create budget deficits in order to bring them about. Other voters, while not so much motivated by personal greed, will vote based on localized interests atrepparttar expense ofrepparttar 125868 more general interests. For example, they might vote for a particular congressional candidate because they think he will bring a lot of goodies to their district. This mentality also helps to forge a cycle of promises, broken promises, and budget deficits. Until voters begin to putrepparttar 125869 general good ahead of personal and parochial interests, these problems will persist. We like to blamerepparttar 125870 news media for all ofrepparttar 125871 "gotcha" political stories that pry too deeply intorepparttar 125872 personal lives and distant past history of candidates and therefore keep many good and qualified people outrepparttar 125873 political arena. However, it is ultimately our fault because we eat that stuff up. We can't get enough of it. The more dirtrepparttar 125874 news outlets dig up on various candidates,repparttar 125875 more we buy their newspapers and tune in to their TV and radio stations for more of those stories. The sad part is that we allow that stuff to influence our votes. Most of it is irrelevant torepparttar 125876 issues at hand and should not be taken seriously by voters. We do usually ignorerepparttar 125877 parts aboutrepparttar 125878 candidates or parties we like, but we tend to believerepparttar 125879 parts aboutrepparttar 125880 candidates or parties we don't like. Therefore,repparttar 125881 news media keeps feeding us this garbage. Last but not least, one of our biggest problems is our unwillingness to vote for independent or third party candidates. These candidates generally do not have obligations to party bosses or quid pro quo relationships with lobbyists likerepparttar 125882 major party candidates do. Very often, we will vote forrepparttar 125883 lesser of two evils, rather than an independent or third party candidate who might be much better. Of course, when you vote forrepparttar 125884 lesser of two evils, you're still voting for an evil. Many people feel like they would be wasting their vote by voting for any of those other candidates. This is simply not true. A voter only wastes his/her vote when he/she votes for someone he/she does not really like. Instead, we create a voting catch-22 for ourselves, i.e., no one will vote for Mr. Independent because he has no chance; Mr. Independent has no chance because no one will vote for him. If enough people decided to start voting their conscience, we could break that vicious cycle.

Terry Mitchell is a software engineer, freelance writer, and trivia buff from Hopewell, VA. He also serves as a political columnist for American Daily and operates his own website - http://www.commenterry.com - on which he posts commentaries on various subjects such as politics, technology, religion, health and well-being, personal finance, and sports. His commentaries offer a unique point of view that is not often found in mainstream media.

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