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Author: Anne Marie Yerks

Has The Nielsen TV Twitter Rating Already Started To Impact Shows?

In 1978, when CBS aired the first episode of the five-part miniseries Dallas, they weren’t anticipating that the dramas of J.R., Sue Ellen, Pamela, and Bobby would spark an international obsession that would carry on for 13 seasons—or that, for seven of those seasons, the show would earn a Nielsen top-10 TV rating. Imagine those thrilled network executives flipping through the first few reports with dollar signs in their eyes. Phones perched, they bargained for maximum advertising revenue. This is a scene that executives and producers at TNT—the network that relaunched Dallas in 2012—probably would like to recreate. But they can’t. The reason? Networks aren’t sure what to make of Nielsen ratings anymore. Issued every Tuesday for decades, Nielsen ratings have become less reliable in our era of tablets, phones, DVRs, media streamers, and media-on-demand services such as Netflix and Hulu. These technologies cater to a fickle human nature that prefers to watch Dance Moms without the commercials or on an iPad while the kiddo is in ballet class. And while 60 Minutes counts on a loyal live audience, it’s one of the few shows that can. Time-shifting (a term for watching a show when you want to instead of when it airs) is taking over the television industry, and Nielsen is scrambling keep networks in the know. Part of the scramble has Nielsen teaming with Twitter to develop...

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Crackle Does It Better Without the Subscription Fees

The Internet is like a brussels sprout plant in a rainy garden. Every inch brings a new crop of something you aren’t sure you want. Yet the plant grows and grows, piling up nuggets until it looks like a Christmas tree from Pinterest. Yes, bounty can be a bad thing, especially with brussels sprouts and sometimes with the Internet. With so many star apps like Crackle out there, it’s tempting to huddle in safe spots. Doing things the way you’ve always done them feels comfortable. You can work on your laptop during a meeting on Web 4.0 or while your Economics professor bashes Bitcoins and appear competent. But brussels sprouts can be good, and so can Web 4.0 (I’m not sure about Bitcoins, but Dealnews is). Crackle is one of the good things. It’s a streaming media app that identifies itself as a “multi-platform next-generation video entertainment network.” Although we can’t credit their copywriter for conciseness, we can enjoy all the gifts this app has to give. You can use it to watch anything from their library: movies, TV shows, and videos are offered in complete downloads, and advertising is minimal. The company won a Webby award last year and is in the running again this year, so it’s worth a voyage outside your comfort zone. When the copywriter says “next-generation,” he or she is likely referring to two...

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Women in TV Shows: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

If the door to women in TV shows was partially closed in the early 1950s, it was kicked wide open by Lucy (Lucille Ball) and her friend Ethel (Vivian Vance) on I Love Lucy. They cleared the comedy pathway for funny leading ladies Donna Reed, Mary Tyler Moore, Elizabeth Montgomery, Barbara Eden, Carol Brunett, and Eva Gabor. Today, we can see ample evidence of the Lucy legacy in shows like New Girl, Whitney, and Two Broke Girls. Wide eyes, red lipstick, and slapstick are running strong on sitcoms in 2013, and we can thank Lucy for that gift among...

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The 2013 Webby Awards Take Online Entertainment Seriously

America loves award shows. The red carpets, the flashbulbs, the afterparty rumours — we’re fascinated with the winners and losers alike. But there’s something that might leave us a little empty inside. Is it all about beauty? What about brains, inventiveness, and ingenuity? That’s why the Webbys are so refreshing. Have you ever seen an article titled “Who Wore It Wrong at the Webbys?” Maybe that’s coming, but it’s not here yet. The Webby Awards are reserved for the reserved — even the acceptance speeches are constrained to only five words. So the Webbys isn’t the most glamorous award show, but let’s breathe a little geeky glory into this nearly two-decade tradition: pour a glass of champagne, spread some goat cheese on a cracker, settle into your well-worn chair, and offer your full attention to the words below. They were carefully crafted by one who poured through TWENTY-SEVEN pages (real paper pages, not Web pages) to extract the most interesting and relevant awards for this very special audience, which includes you. So do something with your hair, OK? Our condensed ceremony begins with Webby’s General Website category. This year’s winner in Television was Hulu.com, beating out Crackle, Bloomberg, and WebGeol, among others. This was the only award Hulu.com won, but they doubled the recognition by earning both the official Webby and the People’s Voice Webby. Netflix.com did the same,...

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The Psychology Behind Violence on TV

Guns, gangs, horror, and violence are not only prevalent on television but are the backbone of some of TV’s most popular shows. Today, we don’t just accept violence on TV, but we actually anticipate and look forward to shows featuring violent, ruthless characters. Watching a young boy shoot his mother square in the face on The Walking Dead is just a typical Sunday night. Witnessing Klaus gruesomely rip the hearts out of his 12 hybrids on The Vampire Diaries during their Christmas episode? That’s just Thursday night entertainment. Like the Romans, we savor the savagery that — in the words of ABC anchorman Jim McKay — brings “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Every year, the website Funeralwise.com records and counts depictions of death on TV. The most deadly TV show, the report claims, is The Walking Dead, which knocks off about 38 zombies in every episode. Second place goes to Strike Back, a Cinemax series that plays out real-life news headlines with its cast of spies and intelligence agents. It averages 26 deaths per episode, all human. The dystopian NBC show Revolution drops about 11 humans per episode. And this count of the dead is growing: Funeralwise.com reports that televised deaths rose 12 percent between 2011 and 2012. But there’s more to violence than death alone. Guns, knives, and bombs thrill us just as much...

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