March 2009

I just saw this video for a modern reinterpretation of Little Red Riding Hood. I don’t know what to call this style, but the execution is excellent.

Slagsmålsklubben – Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo.

A few weeks ago we got a letter from Nielsen Media Research, the company that has done the TV ratings for almost 50 years here in the U.S. It said that they had randomly selected my household to participate in recording our TV viewing over the course of a week. Scanning the letter I got two other important pieces of information:
1.) They would call us in a few days to finalize the details (this is important because as soon as I hear the familiar [pause …. click] of a telemarketer’s call-routing computer I immediately hang up), and
2.) They would pay us $30 in advance to participate.

I figured, why not? So when they called a couple of days later I agreed to participate. All they wanted to know was our willingness to participate, verifying our home address, and how many TV’s we had in use in our home. A few days later we got a small package in the mail from Nielsen, and it contained a ‘TV diary‘ for each of our TV’s, a short letter asking us to call if we had any questions or concerns, and $30 in cash!

If I were a jerk I could have just pocketed the money and thrown away the diaries, but I had agreed to help so I held up on my end of the bargain. The diary has a grid that is broken into rows representing 15-minute increments of time, and the columns are for the channel number and name, program name, and then who in the household watched it. A pretty simple setup.

I kind of feel sorry for Nielsen though, because we really don’t watch that much TV. Overall there was more time logged on that TV watching Japanese children’s shows via VCR or DVD than there was watching broadcast TV. The only shows I remember watching were:
1.) How it’s Made on Discovery Channel (with Ryoko)
2.) Planet Earth on Discovery Channel (with Ryoko)
3.) The Saturday morning lineup on Cartoon Network, consisting of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ben 10 Alien Force, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Secret Saturdays (sorry, no Bakugan crap for this household, I like my 30-minute commercials for children’s toys to be a little less explicit). My two girls enjoy watching these shows with me on Saturday mornings, and it let’s me relive some nostalgia of my own youth. Karisa is absolutely awesome in that she says she really likes Star Wars and Batman (she obviously hasn’t internalized it though, since when she draws pictures for us it is inevitably the characters from Pretty Cure 5 that she draws).
4.) I happened to run across an episode of Gurren Lagann on Cartoon Network one evening (muted, as I can’t stand the low-quality US dubs).

Ryoko doesn’t watch much broadcast TV either, as all I recorded for her was:
1.) About 5 minutes of The Weather Channel every morning to check the daily forecast,
2.) Half an episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats on The Food Network, and
3.) For some inexplicable reason she watched 15 minutes of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ on Fox. This I found really strange since we never watch the major networks, when I channel surf I start at the top and go down, and stop around 34 which is National Geographic Channel. I know the major networks 95% of the time have nothing but reality show crap and inane dramas in the evenings, so years ago I stopped even flipping past them.

Besides videos on the VCR and DVD and what they watched with me, the only shows we logged for the girls were Curious George and Clifford, both early morning on PBS, and they only happened to be able to watch those because it was spring break last week.

So I think Nielsen is going to get some really strange statistics off of us, but I do enjoy the feeling that watching the shows I like (and not watching the ones I don’t) may contribute a small part in keeping them on the air. We’ll see though. The last time I enjoyed a show enough that I was actually willing to work my schedule around it in order to watch it was Firefly, and we all know how that turned out.