LatinaLista — On December 20, 2006, Nielsen Media Research released their “Most Popular” lists for 2006.
The lists are pretty comprhensive. From tv shows and songs to web sites and advertising trends, the list seems extremely thorough. Given their reputation and credibility, we would expect nothing less from such a nationally known company that makes its business from knowing what people watch, read and listen to.
On January 24, 2007, Nielsen released their “Most Popular” 2006 lists for African American viewing habits.
A quick scan of the major findings definitely illustrates a difference between the overall (general) list and the African American list.
Programs with majority African American casts such as â€œGirlfriendsâ€ and â€œHalf and Halfâ€ appear in the list of African American top ten programs but not in the general public’s top ten list.
Nielsen has yet to release the “Most Popular” list for Hispanic viewers but if their Top Ten TV Programs Among Hispanics list from the week of January 22, 2007 is any indication, something is terribly wrong.
All ten shows are on Univision. All ten shows are telenovelas. All ten involve the same three telenovelas: La Fea Mas Bella, Duelo de Pasiones and Mundo de Fieras.
No wonder all the major networks and Rupert Murdoch, with his telenovela-focused cable channel MyNetworkTV, labored under the false assumption that if they built a telenovela, we would come – after all that’s what Nielsen says.
Now the networks and cable channels are learning a very hard and expensive lesson. Murdoch’s channel is trying to salvage its fledgling network and diversify its total telenovela line-up by now offering a martial arts program – go figure.
But chances are Mr. Murdoch or the major networks don’t understand why Hispanics aren’t tuning into their shows or showing much interest in any upcoming programming.
American telenovela on MyNetworkTV
They’re probably thinking that Hispanics tune into Univision’s telenovelas but not theirs because the American-made ones lack the “feel” of the ones from Mexico.
Newsflash: Hispanics, as a whole, don’t watch telenovelas – especially second, third, etc. generation Latinos.
Nielsen has been under fire by AIM TV’s Help Change TV drive, for a while now, for not figuring in nativity among their Hispanic viewers. Nielsen can’t seem to understand that there is a big difference between what Hispanics who have just arrived in the last several years like to watch on tv and Hispanics who have several generations invested in this country.
But it’s not that hard to figure out.(especially when there are people pointing it out.)
Once when interviewing a spokesman from Nielsen and I asked him why they didn’t ask for nativity when interviewing families, he replied that it would be considered an invasion of privacy.
He obviously doesn’t know our culture. Otherwise, he would know that the first or second question out of most Latinos’ mouths when we run into somebody from Mexico or South America is usually “de donde es Ud.?” (where are you from) or “de que parte?” (which part?)
It’s never been my experience that someone did not answer. Usually it’s with todo gusto and very much pride that they do answer.
If Nielsen took into account the true viewing habits of US-born Latinos versus non-native Latinos, the list would look a whole lot different.
I would even venture to guess it would be more similar to the African American list than the current Hispanic list.
By allowing for these differences, Nielsen would be helping the community in recognizing and documenting the differences between native-born and non-native born Hispanics.
They would be helping advertisers and broadcast programmers too in crafting ads and shows to better appeal to these growing influential groups.
On January 29, 2007, Nielsen Media announced that they would start including college student viewing habits in their measurements.
The realization that the television choices of college students mattered came after a three-year pilot program.
It was discovered that:
The impact of adding college viewing among women was greatest on
primetime dramas with strong female characters.
The impact of adding college viewing among men was greatest on football
and animation programming.
According to a press release issued by Nielsen Media:
“Nielsen is committed to continuously improving the scope of its television ratings, and adding college viewing to our ratings estimate provides a more complete picture of the overall television audience,” said Sara Erichson, General Manager, National Services.
So we ask: How come Nielsen isn’t committed at that same level to improve the scope of information for Hispanic viewership, and present not just a more complete picture â€” but the true picture?
I think Mr. Murdoch would have appreciated it.