A Nielsen Family


It began with $3 cash being enclosed in a letter – we had been selected to be a Nielsen family.  You know the Nielsen company – basically, they gather information about how many people are watching what on tv in order to determine how much commercials should cost.  So anyway, they sent $3 cast, and I have to admit, that piqued my interest.  They called with a short phone survey, and a few weeks later, we received a large envelope with 4 booklets (tv diaries), and $30(!) cash.  There were instructions; all we had to do was record what we watched on which tv for a week.  But it turned out to be easier said than done…

Recording what is watched on all of the tv sets (what year were those diaries  printed – who says “tv sets”?) in our household turned out to be quite a challenge!  First of all, we have a parrot in the laundry room, and his tv is on all the time.  I don’t always know what is playing, but I do know that the bird loves The Price Is Right.  So I made a little note in our tv diary for that tv and mentioned that it’s on all the time for the pet parrot and that he especially likes The Price Is Right.  I made sure to notate that I don’t know if he prefers Bob Barker or Drew Carrey, though…

And then there is the kids’ tv, which is in their room.  I know they watch a whole lot of the Disney channel, but I don’t know what’s always on it.  Because it’s summer, we didn’t watch much tv in the living room; we mostly use that tv for movies on DVD.  It was challenging to remember to write down details every time a tv was watched, and if we forgot, it was hard to remember what was watched.  So at times the task was daunting, but we had already accepted the payment, so I felt that we had to follow through with the project.  Overall, it was a neat experience, and if they value our input, there will be a lot more of The Price Is Right, The Office, and hopefully Cubs baseball on tv 🙂

Just for the heck of it, I took a picture of one of the tv diaries and the envelope:

late July 09 005

Overall, a fun experience, but next time I might have to decline depending on how old the kids are when our names come up again.  It was very difficult for me to have to complete “homework” with 4 small children underfoot – hard to say if it would be worth the $30 again…  maybe if the kids are older and can fill out their own diaries…

5 thoughts on “A Nielsen Family”

  1. You could have; they said to record for guests as well. But the survey week is over, and I’ve mailed the diaries back already – sorry!

  2. It’s funny; I didn’t know anyone either, but then I mentioned it to my uncle and he said he’s gotten picked several times. And I learned in my Mass Communications class in college that they were done by putting a special data-recording box on top of the tv, hmmmm… That certainly would have made it easier!

  3. Right… I thought there was some sort of box involved… must have changed and made it more difficult for the family. I’m not sure how people are selected. Someone must be paid to sit behind a large number of phone books all day long.

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