cable (except by meters) and VCR time-shift usage. Concomitant with those
questions are the measurement implications of frequent remote-control switching
and consequent avoidance of commercials (known as zapping), especially among
cable subscribers, and the fast-forwarding or editing out of commercials in VCR
Can diary weaknesses be overcome by peoplemeters? This question can only
be answered when currently planned national services produce actual results in
the 1987-1988 broadcast season. Even this test alone cannot answer questions
about conditioning and panel wearout with peoplemeters. Additional time will
be required. Even a positive answer would leave much of the nation without the
benefit of the meter solution, so local TV ratings services have to press forward
in quest of improved diary accuracy relative to cable originations. We can expect
a serious search for viable means to achieve passive measurement systems to
replace or supplement push-button peoplemeters.
Over the years the methods and the accuracy of ratings systems have frequently
been challenged. However, the integrity, objectivity, and fairness of the people
delivering the audience numbers have rarely been questioned. This is the legacy
of Crossley, Hooper, Nielsen, Roslow, and Seiler. These pioneers set ethical
and professional standards that have been carried on by their successors. May
we see the imprint of their principles on those services that may emerge to
measure electronic media audiences in the future.
Few people were as successful as David Samoff not only in foreseeing
the future but in making it happen. Some examples are his 1915 vision
of mass radio audiences receiving music, news events, and sports results
over a "Radio Music Box," his founding of NBC to provide quality radio
service, his foresight in 1929 in backing Vladimir Zworykin to successfully pursue electronic television, his determination to launch commercial
television at the New York World's Fair in 1939, and his indefatigable
pioneering and $200 million commitment to compatible electronic color
(now used in 90 percent of U.S. households) in the face of vicious
"IRTS, Brings Big Names Together," Broadcasting, February 6, 1984,
p. 52, a report on the twelfth annual faculty/industry and college conference of the International Radio and Television Society.
"Enhancement--Next TV Set Revolution," Television Digest, March 19,
1984, p. 11.
Sandra Salmans, "Cable Operators Take a Bruising," The New York
Times, March 4, 1984, Section 3, p. 1.
"TCI Buys Pittsburgh System," "Television Digest", March 26, 1984, p. 6.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Audience Ratings:Radio, Television, and Cable.
Contributors: Hugh Malcolm Beville Jr. - Author.
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Place of publication: Hillsdale, NJ.
Publication year: 1988.
Page number: 307.
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