Thursday, January 26, 2012
A major story in newspapers the morning after President Obama's State of the Union on Tuesday was the "decline" in viewers, according to Nielsen's numbers. The New York Times, for one, reported "it was by far the fewest who have watched President Obama give the address."
Did you know that sales of ice cream go up in summer months? Sure, you say. But did you also know that urban crime rises in the summer, as well? So, clearly, ice cream causes crime.
If you're nodding because you've heard that one about spurious correlations, that makes us happy. What doesn't cheer us quite so much are news stories that report declining television viewership numbers and offer nothing beyond juxtaposing that "decline" with a list of what station did what Nielsen metric, and then close the article with the highest performer: American Idol, the best rated of the night "among the 18- to 49-year-old viewers favored by most advertisers," says the New York Times.
It may surprise some news media out there to hear that the majority of American men don't wear fedoras to work. And that we no longer use metal tokens on the train systems throughout America. And--this just in--many of those 18-49 years of age get their news on their own timetable on this new fangled invention called the internet. Which means they watched either the entirety of the President's speech, or the highlights, as they made their toaster waffles or rode to work, getting it on their tablets or hand-helds. Meaning there may not be, as these stories infer, less interest in what Mr. Obama has to say than in what happens on American Idol, but far less interest in whether Nielsen gets to take their attendance.
Digital is not just an invention. Digital is a life changer. It's has changed the way we get news and entertainment, how we communicate and socialize, and engage with brands. And, by the way, we have data to show exactly how, and how that changes the categories in which brands compete. If you want to know more, than send us a letter, or use your car phone, or, if you've got one of those computer thingys, you can use that, too.