Nielsen Tracks College Student TV Viewing


Nielsen Media Research which has long tracked the television viewing habits of Americans, but for a long time they have not tracked one particular group – college students.  Beginning this week, however, this will change.  Nielsen will begin tracking the TV viewing habits of college students this week, which could potentially boost ratings for programs popular with younger crowds.

In the past, college students were not included in Nielsen ratings unless they were not attending school, or were home on vacation.  Families with college-age students who participate in the ratings, televisions in dorm rooms, common areas, sororities or wherever students primarily watch tv, will be counted.

College students’ television viewing habits have been tracked by Nielsen for a three-year pilot program which was paid for by MTV, ESPN, Fox and others. Considering the viewing habits of college students in this study increased ratings for “Grey’s Anatomy” by 53%.  Shows such as “Ugly Betty”, “Desperate Housewives”, and “America’s Next Top Model” proved especially popular amongst women.  When college-age men were counted, Comedy Central’s “Drawn Together” received a huge jump in ratings, and football, “Family Guy”, and “The Simpsons” also did well with college men.

So maybe now that our opinions are being counted, they won’t cancel our favorite shows after just one or two seasons!  We can only hope, I guess.  Nielsen plans to continue their quest of catching up with the times by measuring TV viewing outside of the home, including video streams, over the next few years.

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