Do Cable TV Providers monitor what customers watch? Do they track the popular and frequently viewed stations?

6 comments on “Do Cable TV Providers monitor what customers watch? Do they track the popular and frequently viewed stations?

  1. Yes. Tivo and digital set top boxes send usage information over the phone line. My sattelite claims they only use Aggregate data.
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  2. Not that I’m aware of. I’m guessing if they had that kind of technology available, they’d keep it to themselves. :-)

    Nielsen, the ratings people, do use monitoring devices in the TV’s of viewers who are selected for their audience research. I can absolutely guarantee you that that data finds its way to TV stations and advertisers. I’ve included a link from Nielsen’s web site about monitoring.
    References :

  3. In an addressable system they have that capability. Many of the current digital boxes do. However, they are pretty careful about singling anyone out just because of the paranoia that may cause. If you were to call your local cable TV company they should openly answer that question. (the lady at the front desk may not know though, but should know who to direct you to).
    References :

  4. I do not believe they do. Normally they use Neilsen Ratings.

    Nielsen Television Ratings statistics are gathered in two ways: one is by extensive use of surveys, where viewers in various demographics are asked to keep a written record (called a diary) of what shows they watch at what times. The other is by the use of a limited number of Nielsen Boxes, which are small computers hooked up to a television in a home, which electronically records its activities and transmits them nightly to Nielsen. These Nielsen Boxes allow market researchers to study television viewing habits on a minute to minute basis, seeing at exactly what moment a viewer changed channels or turned off their TV. Additional use of direct reporting devices (called people meters) allow the company to gather overnight statistics in specific geographic areas.
    References :

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