CBS, NBC, and ABC have been exposed misspelling the names of their major programs during times of expected low viewership to “trick” the Nielsen ratings system into giving the existing program higher ratings.
Traditional TV networks are more than aware that their shows live and die by ratings and the advertisers that are so deeply invested in those numbers.
So they tried to pull a fast one on Nielsen, the company that tallies up all the eyeballs a particular show attracts, but the Wall Street Journal caught on.
When a network knows the ratings will drop, on holidays or when there’s a big sports event on, they misspell a show’s name so that it doesn’t register with Nielsen and the less than positive numbers can’t be held against them.
For example, as The Verge explained, it can be as simple as changing NBC Nightly News to NBC Nitely News — you know, the way you spelled “night” when you were in middle school, as “nite” to be cute and avoid that one extra letter? This way, when the show aired over a holiday weekend and less people were watching, it doesn’t count against the actual program.
Networks can bat their eyelashes and be all, “who, me?” about it to pretend that it was a typo, but the truth is, any organization would be even more embarrassed by such an egregious typo than a dip in ratings. Haven’t you ever blushed at your desk when you fired off an email with the wrong spelling in the subject? They can’t play all innocent this time.
While the networks were busy trying to get the numbers to lie, the WSJ discovered some hard truths: it’s happening a lot. NBC’s been guilty of misspelling shows 14 times since the beginning of this TV season, CBS was right behind them with 12 times, and ABC did it 7 times, including that same old trick, renaming their show Wrld New Tonite.
It hasn’t been a well-kept secret, seeing as so many networks are all using the same tactic, but needless to say, advertisers aren’t exactly pleased. Let’s hope the networks get some sort of spell check program installed before they see the ad dollars drift away with their viewers.
(via: Conservative Post)