According to the Wall Street Journal, television networks that have witnessed a massive drop in viewership have found a way around the Nielson rating system. Nobody would ever think this technique would be utilized to cheat the system, but networks are desperate.
It seems that certain networks have learned if they misspell titles of shows, it will register as a new show. Thus, if it carries bad ratings, it won’t affect the main show they are trying to protect.
We all know CNN dropped in the Nielson ratings to 13th. But if they choose to misspell a few shows, that would stop the free fall for a few weeks until they feel things are on the upswing. That, my friends, is cheating to the max.
— inmatemd (@inmatemd) August 9, 2017
The WSJ talked about shows that occur around holiday weekends or during sports events when it’s not as obvious. You might have even seen it happen and figured it was a mistake when it was actually done on purpose.
Over the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, for example, NBC aired NBC Nitely Newsinstead of its usual NBCNightly News so the holiday drop in viewership didn’t affect its ratings standing. Nielsen’s automated system counted that misspelled show as an entirely different program. By doing this, NBC managed to actually gain ratings against its main competitor: ABC World News Tonight.
NBC apparently misspelled its shows 14 times since the start of the 2016 to 2017 TV season, and it’s not the only network to pull this tactic. This season, ABC did so seven times with its Wrld New Tonite, while CBS replaced The CBS Evening News with CBS Evening Nws 12 times. Clearly, this method isn’t much of a secret, although The Wall Street Journal points out that advertisers are catching on and are fed up with paying more for potentially disingenuous viewership counts.
— Anthony M (@anthonyinodessa) July 14, 2017
That’s the ugly side of the Nielsen rating game! Many networks have exploited the ability to boost ratings for shows with modifications in the name of the show. But this is the first time I’ve seen intentional misspelling.
Nothing is safe anymore, and it’s getting to a point we can’t trust anything. I was shocked to learn this and I know you are too.
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