TV sweeps time!Written by Heather Miller | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Hang on to your hats TV lovers, we are heading in to the Superbowl of the television world. Its November sweeps. The term may not mean much to you, but it strikes fear in television employees everywhere. It is one of four times a year when the ‘gods’ of television ratings, Nielsen Media Research, attempt to track just how many viewers are watching a particular station at a particular time, in order to set advertising sales rates. It is also why you notice local new channels up the ante by offering ‘special reports’ and ‘exclusive investigations.’
The four-week sweeps period can literally make or break a television program. It ultimately tells us station how much they can charge for advertising. So, needless to say, a lot of money (and sometimes jobs) rely on the results.
Here’s how it works in Toledo:
Nielsen sends out little packets referred to as ‘diaries’ out to ‘average’ television viewers. The viewers are asked to write down all television programs they watch. What those viewers say they watch is they broken down in to numbers. That determines a program’s rating. So, the more people who watch, the higher the rating, and the more money that is brought in to the station.
The sweeps period is also the reason you won’t see any reruns for a while. Television networks usually pull out all the stops. You’ll see ‘can’t miss’ specials, climactic new series episodes, special guest stars, and mega-hyped series premieres (I, personally, already have my DVR set for “V.”) And it is all in an effort to get you to tune in.
Of course, once you get hooked, November is over. Then it is back to reruns and tired old holiday specials. December is pretty much a let down after TV pulls out all the stops for November. But then again, the rulers of television land need to rest up and start plotting for their next round. After all, sweeps hits again in February.
So, happy November sweeps to one and all. May you remote control survive.