Feels weird writing a blog and not having it be a joke. Nope, this is indeed something informative and kinda interesting. Enjoy it while you can because the next "informative" blog I write will probably be a link to my senior thesis presentation. And as anyone who's heard of my senior thesis topic can attest, it wont be fun for anyone but me.
So, let's talk TV:
The above picture is what you look like watching TV, only you don't have friends, probably aren't watching late at night, and I don't see why you'd take the time to fix yourself some popcorn for an 11 minute viewing. Notice though how 4 people in this picture are watching TV? How exactly would network executives know this? If they're trying to guage how many people are watching the newest episode of Teen Titans GO! (your new favorite show), wouldn't this reduce the number of "TVs on during this episode's runtime" by 3, when there were, in fact, 4 people watching at this one moment?
Also, what about those of us like me who record our shows and watch them when we get home? Our TVs aren't really on. Do we reduce viewership or does it track when episodes are recorded as well? But if that's the case, I also have some 16 episodes of DC's Legends of Tomorrow recorded that I haven't and probably wont watch (it's trash). I wouldn't want to give the big TV heads the impression that people actually LIKE LoT.
Lucky for us, that isn't actually how viewership is guaged.
Yes, confusing indeed. Lemme introduce you to this thing called Nielsen ratings. Nielsen is basically this huge company whos missions is gather info about you lot of super predictable and boring teenagers and "adults" and figure out what you're into, how to sell you stuff and what's hot. They are a public company, so what they know, other people can know. Basically, they get their information about what people are watching in two ways:
1. Surveys. They ask, you answer. That simple.
2. Set Meters. This is the more... involved way. Selected houses are used as models for for what everyone else is watching. Using those selected houses, they multiple the results by 1000 (this is VERY general; the exactly formula is too complicated for me to explain and it bends depending on the demographics, locations, and a bunch of other stuff). The end result is what can be the closest to the correct answer as we can get without putting cameras in everyone's TV (which they will likely do one day). TV networks check out Nielsen's data and go from there.
So now, you're probably wondering, how does this connect to SU and leaks?
Well, it just means that "tuning in" when it airs doesn't necessarily change the numbers. Unless you're one of the selected few "Nielsen families" (you are choosen randomly, btw), you have no effect on TV ratings. I've been seeing PSAs on this wiki, Reddit, Tumblr and other places to remember to watch the episodes when they air to supoprt the show. Indeed, you should, as you may be a Nielsen family and not know it (unless you're the adult in the house and know what's going on with your TV provider), but I just wanted to clarify how exactly ratings work. If you really want to support SU, buy their merch. Merch buying is what convinces TV companies to keep their shows the most. If you find that you are a Nielsen family, take special care to watch advertisements even if you can skip them. Even if a show has tons of views, TV heads will can them if they don't get ad revenue.
And thus, my children, you have learned a thing a two. Here's some sources of my info in case some of you ACTUALLY want to check my word instead of just blindly believing me because I wrote an informative blog. Just note, I spent all of 30 minutes or so doing research and should not be trusted as some sort of expert in this field.
I really just wanted to get some quick research practice in.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nielsen_N.V (this link wont work unless you add a period to the end of it)
(There was an article but the website is a bit over the age rating for this wiki)
Credit to CasaBlacka for reminding me about the value of merch buying, 50000cal for pointing out grammar errors, and Poorle for the link to the last article whic gives some really good info about how Neilsen families work and how te affect TV show's runtimes.