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Consuming TV

Consuming TV

Author: Amee Wittbrodt
  • Understand, analyze, evaluate, and use different types of print, digital, and multimodal media.
  • Critically analyze information found in electronic, print, and mass media and use a variety of these sources.
  • Gain an understanding of how TV stations generate income and investigate how the Nielsen rating system works.
  • Recall the definition and understand the implications of the following words: narrow casting, target marketing, demographics, psychographics, and the rating process.

This packet presents information on how TV stations generate income and how Nielsen ratings are used to help stations access target markets by using demographics and psychographics. Students will learn about narrow casting and how the overall Nielsen rating process works.

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Background Information


Source: Media Literacy: Thinking Critically About Television

The Nielsen Family

How do people become a members of the Nielsen TV sample? Click here to find out: Nielsen Family. Read the overview and then click on FAQ.

Nielsen Ratings 101: Metering

Leaders and experts from The Nielsen Company discuss how the rating process works.

Discussion Questions

  1. Vocabulary- ________________ Measures the size of the total audience for a show, based on the number of households watching that show.
  2. Vocabulary- ________________ The proportion of homes using television at one particular time that are tuned to a particular program.
  3. Vocabulary- ________________ Money made from commercials used to pay television stations' bills and make a profit.
  4. Vocabulary- ________________ A specific group of people a television show is marketed to.
  5. Vocabulary- ________________ When channels try to identify specific groups of people with specific interests.
  6. T/F? Not all television shows appeal to all people, nor are they meant to.
  7. T/F? Different groups of people have the same television viewing habits and the same buying habits.
  8. T/F? On average, women 55 years old and older watch more hours of television a week than men in the same age group.
  9. The price that a television channel can charge advertisers is based on several factors, including what?
  10. List 3 characteristics that are considered demographics.
  11. List 3 characteristics that are considered psychographics.
  12. Children 12 years old and younger, watch as much television as teens do weekly, a little under _______  hours a week.
  13. Using target marketing, which television program would be most likely to advertise a new razor: college football game, news show on PBS, figure skating show, or a Lifetime movie?
  14. Using target marketing, which television program would be most likely to advertise a new type of cleaning product: children's cartoon, Monday night football, a Lifetime movie, or MTV?
  15. Using target marketing, which television program would be most likely to advertise yummy chicken nuggets at McDonald's: Saturday morning cartoon, a Lifetime movie, Monday night football, or a figure skating show?
  16. Other than Lifetime, MTV, VH1, and BET, think of a cable TV channel and explain who the target audience is. How do you know this? (Clue: discuss what is advertised)
  17. How can people become a members of the Nielsen TV sample? Explain.
  18. How does Nielsen collect data and how does the ratings system work? Explain.
  19. How accurate and reliable is their information? If you don't know, how can you find out?