We have some more TV viewing statistics from this fall season's critical premiere week -- but not from the usual source. And while I'd be happy to discuss how the networks are doing, Rick Munarriz already did that. But his data came from the traditional source, and this is a new batch that obviates another burning question: Do we need Nielsen anymore?
These rankings came from TiVo
Nielsen's newer methods rely on automatic collection, too, and they should be just as accurate, but they require additional hardware installation and will always rely on a smaller statistical sample than TiVo's entire customer base. (Just last month, Nielsen said it would increase its sample size to 37,000 households by 2011.) For TiVo, that's some 2.5 million data points from the grandfathered DirecTV
And the Comcast
So TiVo sits on a gold mine of statistical data, adjusted for time-shifting in the new style of Nielsen itself. And even if this company went out of business tomorrow, all those non-TiVo digital video boxes have similar data-collection capabilities. If you can order pay-per-view or on-demand shows with your remote, your service provider knows what you're watching. That includes DirecTV, EchoStar's
Maybe I left Nielsen to join the Fool at just the right time. Sorry, guys, but your services may not be needed much longer. CBS
Walt Disney has been a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation since 2003. TiVo was recommended the month before the House of Mouse, but dropped off the scorecard this summer. What happened? Grab a free 30-day trial of our flagship newsletter service and read all about it.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Disney shareholder, but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. His cable provider is a subsidiary of Time Warner Cable, in case you care. He wants his DVR to be a fully functional TiVo, too, not this generic box of blah. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is always both relevant and in step with the times.