I’m a Nielsen Family! Sort of.

I was chosen to do a Nielsen diary.

I guess I can post about this.  Nothing I have read from Nielsen says I can’t.  I found it pretty interesting that I was chosen and so do my Facebook friends, so I figured maybe you would too.

I got a survey

I guess it was about 2 or so months ago that I got a survey in the mail from Nielsen. Since it was from Nielsen, a well known organization, I opened the envelope.  I found 4 crisp new dollar bills and a survey.  I was amused by the $4.00 and again it was Nielsen, so I figured what the heck, filled it out and sent it back. I then promptly forgot about it.

I got a call

I had just returned from Internet Update in Philadelphia. It had been a long trip since I unexpectedly had to speak and was suffering from a chest cold.  Fortunately, my Assistant Evelyn was with me, which made the trip much more bearable. She did a wonderful job taking over the logistics of the seminar so I could focus on speaking.

Anyway, as we pulled into PBI at around 7:00 or so on April 12th I got a phone call.   It was Nielsen!

First the woman identified herself and explained why she was calling. Then she asked me some questions. Again, it was Nielsen so despite the fact I was pretty tired I took the time to talk with her.  After I finished answering her questions the woman wanted to know if I would do a Nielsen diary.  She told me I would be paid $5.00 for doing this.  I laughed and made some lame joke about being rich. I am sure she hears this joke all day.  And of course, I said yes.

At this point I was somewhat thrilled.  After all, I was now a Nielsen family. But what was with the lame diary, I wondered? What happened to the neat tracking box I heard about as a kid? Oh well.  It was still cool.

The Nielsen woman told me to expect a package by Wednesday the 27th for a diary I would keep starting on Thursday the 28th.

I get a package

Sure enough, when I checked my mail this week, I had a package from Nielsen. In it I found a letter, a FAQ document, 2 diaries and 5 crisp one dollar bills.  Nielsen must keep a lot of crisp bills around.

I took a picture and shared the pictures on Facebook. Again, people thought it was cool.  Here are the pictures.










Crisp dollar bills











I reviewed the letter, put the 5 bucks in my wallet, and filled out the portion of the diary I was supposed to before I started on the 28th. I got two diaries because I have two tvs. So I put one in my living room and one in my bedroom. I was all set to do my Nielsen diary.

How exciting.  Well not really.  But ok.

I get another call

Thursday, around 6:00 my phone rang. It was Nielsen again. The man calling wanted to make sure I got the diaries. He also wanted to make sure I didn’t have any questions. Since I was at the dog park, I didn’t have any questions. We did however discuss the weather and the fact I had trouble getting to the office because of the flooding. We commiserated. He thanked me several times for being a Nielsen diary filler outer and I wished him well.

I get started

I got home around 8:30, grabbed my diary and started filling it out. I messed up on how to do the DVR so I guess I should have asked more questions. No matter, Nielsen has a good website so I found the proper way and was all set.

Basically the diary is a series of grids. On one side are the times and on the other are the people in the home.

Strangely you are supposed to fill out anything that you watch for 5 minutes or more. I only managed to watch about 5 minutes of American Idol so I filled it out, but then that ran into the next show I watched. Bit of an inconsistency there Nielsen.

Anyway, I watched all my TV on the DVR tonight. I was running anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes behind the shows’ actual air time.  Nielsen wants you to provide:

  1. Call sign
  2. Channel number
  3. Name of show
  4. If watching on DVR the original time and date of the show
  5. Who watched the show

You use a lot of Xs and squiggles because that is what Nielsen wants you to do. It looks like this.

I am not used to writing so much

As someone who rarely writes anything I find this system quaintly old fashioned and keep trying to think of ways I could just do it on my computer. But they need the diary so  that would be extraneous work.

What am I supposed to do?

I am supposed to keep this diary from Thursday through Thursday, one for each tv, and then I am supposed to send it back.  The diary stays with the TV, so if I watch TV somewhere else I am not supposed to record that. If I don’t watch any TV on a given day I am supposed to note that.

I am supposed to mail the diaries back on Friday. They are, of course, self addressed, stamped, etc etc.

Why do we care?

That’s how the Nielsen diary works. Kind of boring. But now you know.

I wonder why everyone thinks it is so cool? Why was I so pleased to be picked? Why are people so interested?

I remember joking around as a child about the Nielsen box and how people would try to bribe you to watch certain shows. The power of  the Nielsen box you know.

It all comes back to branding

I trusted Nielsen and I am willing to take time to jot down information about what I watch and when.  I don’t normally take surveys. I am not normally very trusting. I normally wouldn’t take time to do this, but I am for Nielsen. Why?

Well, because it is Nielsen! And I grew up hearing about Nielsen! I guess that says something about the importance of Nielsen in our society, and what an amazing job the company has done with branding itself and its reputation.

See that, everything comes back to branding.

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