TVNZ’s dodgy stats

May 4th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar


claims that 60 Minutes had an average audience of 130,060 in April, quoting Nielsen TAM (5+).  We publish these same ratings each day on Throng, and based on the figures we have been sent, the average audience was approximately 257,000.  TVNZ’s figure is roughly half that!

The press release gets even more dramatic by saying 60 Minutes has lost “almost 300,000 viewers per week since February”.  Hold on a minute: that’s an awful lot of viewers to be losing.  With over 8 weeks in March and April, that would have given 60 Minutes over 2.4 million viewers in February – more than the total number of Kiwis watching the Royal Wedding!

“[60 Minutes] had an average of 422,120 viewers watching each week in February” is misleading as there was only one episode of show screened in February!  It was a special 30 minute Christchurch earthquake special on the day after the quake, so not surprising that it rated so highly.  

So TVNZ was comparing a one off special the day after the earthquake, with normal ratings for 60 minutes, and using it to try and con people that 60 Minutes had a plummeting audience.

Someone in One News should explain to TVNZ Marketing that dodgy press releases from the broadcaster undermine their trustworthiness as a new source.

7 Responses to “TVNZ’s dodgy stats”

  1. smttc (826 comments) says:

    Sell the bloody thing and let’s be done with it.

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  2. insider (938 comments) says:

    I’m amazed anyone watches at all. Better off in the middle of the day between the other emo programmes like Oprah and Days of Our Lives.

    Note: you missed a major piece of information that TVNZ is talking about their competitor’s programme’s viewing figures. You need to say they are referring to TV3’s programme.

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  3. david (2,348 comments) says:

    You will be old and grey before someone takes public responsibility for such crap.

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  4. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    When statistics are produced by a body with a vested interest in what those statistics portray then those statistics are worse than useless. They are invariably lies.
    Whether it is govt. unemployment/inflation/GDP figures or housing sales/price figures coming from the real estate industry or TVNZ viewer figures.
    I don’t like being so cynical, these people make you that way.

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  5. thedavincimode (8,131 comments) says:

    “undermine their trustworthiness as a new source.”

    Are you serious?????????? Could this slot into the no. 2 slot in oxymoron of the year (behind “considered opinion”)?

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  6. Longknives (6,406 comments) says:

    From the same school of making up figures as Martin Sneddin, who regularly tells us that 600 billion-odd viewers will watch the Rugby World Cup this year.

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  7. Rex Widerstrom (5,113 comments) says:

    Audience figures of any sort tend to be absolute crap. Most channels talk of having “x viewers”, using as a basis their “cume”. That’s the total number of viewers who have watched for 15 minutes or more over the week. So lose the remote for quarter of an hour, or watch only one 30 minute program out of the 168 hours of foetid swampwater they produce each week, and you become a “viewer”. And since you’re a viewer, you can be assumed to like and approve of the drivel they serve up.

    When the radio audience figures used to be released I’d flick past the cumes to see what my TSL (time spent listening) figures were like. One could reasonably assume that the longer someone was prepared to listen to you, the better the quality of your output.

    That’s why you rarely hear those figures talked about in terms of TV programming, unless they happen to be remarkably good, because the common audience response is: switch on, watch for just long enough to realise this new crap is no better than the old crap, then switch off or change the channel. But as long as they can sucker enough people into that first 15 minutes then bingo, the show has “x viewers”.

    The best public service someone could perform was to configure and give away an easy-to-use VPN* that would let the average person watch content from the ABC, BBC, ITV, PBS, SBS and other quality public and commercial broadcasters round the world. and especially to get round Hulu’s blocking.

    Then watch the channels have to invest in quality, or die… and deservedly so.

    [* Yes I know how to set one up, but then I’m a sad nerd. I’m talking about something that put a set of shortcuts on the desktop with “Watch Hulu”, “Watch the ABC” etc on them… one-click jobs for Mr and Mrs Average].

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