Tuesday, May 3, 2005

The Naked Weather Girl

After half a century, Nielsen Ratings are upgrading.  Can it be?  Are they sure that’s not a premature and outrageous act of modernism? 


Most of us don’t give a hoot, but the advertisers have to have something upon which to cover their asses on media buys and Nielsen has been the something . . . for as long as anyone can remember . . . forever.


But now the new and improved Nielsen’s Media Research spokesman says “Times they are a changing” and even the quote has a comfortable old-timey feel about it.  The change is something Nielsen calls LPMs (Local People Meters), not to be confused with RPMs (revolutions per minute) which is an automotive term that is often confused with the number of nation-states that are coming apart every sixty seconds. Trust me, you'll get a feel for the jargon.


After fifty or so years and well in to the computerization of the globe, when it’s common to instant message your friends across the world, Nielsen is going to do OVERNIGHTS on who’s watched what.  Egad!  Can you imagine overnight reporting?  What a cutting edge company.  It boggles the mind.


Nielsen has been ROLLING OUT LPMs in a random sampling of homes since 2002 and here’s the scary part, the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security never noticed.  Right after the ROLLING OUT, major cities are going to actually be HOOKED UP to this brand new 20th century technology.  EVERY WEEK is going to be a SWEEPS WEEK according to those who are RAMPED UP for what the Nielsen spokesman characterizes as A TON OF DATA EVERY MORNING!


I’m dizzy with anticipation. I had a friend with a riding stable who had a ton of something else to get rid of every morning.  The only people he could sell it to were mushroom growers.


Get this; a meter will sit atop every television in a Nielsen household. A meter! Is that fifties, or what?  Each member of the family will be assigned a number.  When a person wants to watch TV, he presses his number on a special remote.  Do you remember ‘special remotes’ in your cereal boxes forty years ago?  Well friends, that world is HERE TODAY at Nielsen. 


Over here in what used to be Eastern Europe, the TV Nova station has its own formula for RAMPING UP and ROLLING OUT and it’s called the 11:10pm Naked Weather Girl.  The format is that every night a new and different (and always lovely) naked girl comes onto the set while tomorrow’s weather is being voice-overed.  She then puts on (in her own sweet langorous time) appropriate clothing for the forecast.  In winter, she’ll un-strip-tease her way to fur trimmed jacket and boots; in summer, if there’s a real heat wave underway she might put on nothing more than suntan oil. But it's always a good watch.


Bless her.  TV Nova hasn’t much need for Nielsen or Sweeps Weeks or any of the other folderol that makes up the advert game as played in America.  Oh, and just to keep things mixed up, every once in a while the Naked Weather Girl is a man.  Same delicious full-frontal routine to keep the ladies at home interested.


But, in case the Czech Republic ever needs to confuse its advertising buyers sufficiently to make a raid on the Madison Avenue cookie jar, Nielsen would no doubt be willing to step in with their latest fifty-year-old technology.


Excuse me, I'd like to write more, but the weather is coming up.