COMM 101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Social Desirability Bias, Polygraph, Punched Tape

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Measuring Media Audiences
To monetize: to make money from something; to convert uses and behaviors
into revenue, profits; to utilize something as a source of profit
The object of this scrutiny--the audience--was itself an
invention, a construction that corralled a nation of individual
listeners into a sometimes monolithic group that somehow knew
what it wanted from broadcasting.
The first ratings service, the Cooperative Analysis of
Broadcasting started by Archibald Crossley in 1929
involved telephoning between 1500 and 3500 people in cities
around the country and asking them to recall who in the household
had listened to which stations and programs during the previous
twenty-four hours, and which of these program family members
preferred.
It was a crude system and left critical questions unanswered. Why
did people listen to some shows and not others? What shaped their
tastes?
There was also,a class bias here, as only 41 percent of
households had telephones, and many working class and ethnic
listeners were excluded from the survey.
Respondents also misremembered what they had heard the day
before: there were lapses, false reports and deliberate
misrepresentations. (social desirability)
In 1934 a new research firm, Clark-Hooper Inc., which eventually
came to be known as the Hooper ratings--inaugurated the
"coincidental telephone interview."
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Those called were asked to report what they were listening to right
then, and on which station.
In mid-1930s Frank Stanton and Paul Lazasfeld develop the program
analyzer, or, more familiarly, "Little Annie."
The program analyzer was a box with two buttons, one green and
one red. Interview subjects were recruited and each given one as
they gathered in a room to listen to a particular radio show.
When they liked what they heard, they pressed the green button;
when they didn't, they pressed the red. If they were indifferent, they
were not to press anything
The buttons were connected by wire to a device not unlike a
polygraph which was in an adjoining room, invisible to the listeners.
In the polygraph, a paper tape moved continuously under paired sets
of pens. Each red button activated the red pen which swung down,
marking a valley of dislike on the tape.
A.C. Nielsen in Chicago in 1942 introduced its audimeter.
The audimeter mechanically recorded on a piece of tape every time
the radio dial was changed and where it was changed to
When the tape was compared with the day’s broadcasting
schedule, Nielsen could see which shows were listened to and for
how long.
Guinea Pig homes, as Business Week called them, allowed
monthly inventories of their kitchens and bathrooms so that Nielsen
could assess the effectiveness of advertising on particular shows. So
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Document Summary

To monetize: to make money from something; to convert uses and behaviors into revenue, profits; to utilize something as a source of profit. The object of this scrutiny--the (cid:515)audience(cid:516)--was itself an invention, a construction that corralled a nation of individual listeners into a sometimes monolithic group that somehow knew what (cid:515)it(cid:516) wanted from broadcasting. The first ratings service, the cooperative analysis of. It was a crude system and left critical questions unanswered. There was also,a class bias here, as only 41 percent of households had telephones, and many working class and ethnic listeners were excluded from the survey. Respondents also misremembered what they had heard the day before: there were lapses, false reports and deliberate misrepresentations. (social desirability) In 1934 a new research firm, clark-hooper inc. , which eventually came to be known as the hooper ratings--inaugurated the. Those called were asked to report what they were listening to right then, and on which station.

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