Against all other research it seems that Nielsen and Nickelodeon have managed to pull out of the bag some figures (noted by the Progress Report) that shows kids are actually watching ‘more‘, yes more TV now than at anytime in the last 20 years! Excuse me while I dip my index finger and thumb in some salt 😉

Sixty nine percent of kids 6-14 have TVs in their bedrooms, according to the network’s “U.S. Multicultural Kids Study 2005.” That’s compared to 49% who have videogame systems in their bedrooms, 46% who have VCRs, 37% who have DVD players, 35% who have cable or satellite TV service, 24% who have PCs and 18% who have Internet access.
“Kids rooms are becoming kind of like mini-media centers,” said Nick’s Senior VP of Audience Research Ron Geraci.
The high percentage of TVs in kids bedrooms comes at a time when Nielsen is reporting the highest levels of TV viewing among kids in more than 20 years. Through Oct. 9, 2005, kids aged 6-11 watched 23 hours and 3 minutes a week, according to Nielsen. That’s compared to 21 hours and 18 minutes in 1992.

OK so what we have here is kids coming into their rooms. First thing they do is switch on the TV and then go and do something else. The TV I suggest is the new radio, as ambient as an air-conditioner, and occassionally glanced at across the room then the teenagers get back to IM, SMS, blogging, broadband browsing and so on. Just a hunch. Now could this be the new way Nielsen are measuring TV watching, with the wonderful people meters? If the TV is on then of course people are staring intently at the screen absorbing all those ads. Wired reported back in April that there were big changes happening in TV measurement circles.

Nielsen plays a unique, but hugely important, role in the broadcast media business. Advertisers decide where to spend money by figuring out which groups of people are watching which shows. For example, beer companies and carmakers salivate over young men in their 20s and 30s. These advertisers use the Nielsen service to find the shows that attract this group. Likewise, TV programming executives get paid, promoted or fired based in large part on how their shows fare in the Nielsen ratings. The New York company holds tremendous power.

and we all know what power does to people don’t we.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2005