So while reading all the Conan/Leno stuff, a big deal is made about all of their Nielsen Ratings: How only 3 million people are watching Conan, yada yada yada.
Nielsen compiles these ratings by giving households around the US a special box that records their TV watching habits. It transmits the report each night to Nielsen via cable modem.
There are 25,000 Nielsen “Families.”
There are 210 TV markets in the US. The #207 market is Juneau, Alaska. It has more households than Nielsen has families.
Since the average household has 2.55 people per household on average (according to a Nielsen’s study), there are roughly 63,750 people in Nielsen households. When they say “3 million people watched Conan last night” they mean that 656 people watched Conan last night.
The number of Nielsen family members is lower than the number of people that attended a home game for the football team with the poorest attendance… in the XFL.
There are fewer Nielsen family members providing ratings data than there are employees at 30 Rockefeller Center.
In other words, 0.008% of all American’s are factoring into the TV ratings. Statistically, you are more likely to know someone who was born with a sixth finger or toe than you are to know someone who’s opinion of TV shows actually matters.