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# How do TV channels determine viewing figures? watch

1. Like when you hear that record numbers of people have tuned into a particular program,how do they find out? Its not a particularly important question but i'm just curious
2. I am curious about this too. Is it somehow something to do with calculation of bandwidth ? Particularly, I want to know how this works over satellite, since signal is beamed down and locked, and nothing is transmitted back up.
3. Does the government/bbc monitor what we watch???
4. (Original post by tea_or_coffee?)
Like when you hear that record numbers of people have tuned into a particular program,how do they find out? Its not a particularly important question but i'm just curious
The way it used to be done (and probably still is to some extent) is using special boxes connected to the TVs that detect activity when flipping the channels, etc. Those were given to representatives of certain age/society groups and then there's been some relatively simple maths done
5. In the UK the viewing figures are got through The BARB. Around 5000 people have a box which records everything they watch, which is sent back to the stations. The amount of actual viewers is then approximated.
6. Taylor Davis on the black 85
7. It doesn't sound very accurate. I mean, surely the kind of programs these people watch will be based on their demographics. If 90% of the participants are over 18 it's unlikely they're watching cartoons for example. Or if only 20% are religious people that will make ratings for religious programs seem lower than they are.
8. what doesn't make sense to me is, how do they know how many people are watching the tv, so viewing figures maybe 3 million viewers, and they get that figure by 4 viewers watching the channel per tv, when it may just be one per tv so is really under 1 millions views. i cant explain it well, but you can understand what i am trying to say.
9. yeah 5,000 doesn't sound like a big enough sample size considering it is extrapolated up to 6,000,000
10. (Original post by Numberone-outkast)
what doesn't make sense to me is, how do they know how many people are watching the tv, so viewing figures maybe 3 million viewers, and they get that figure by 4 viewers watching the channel per tv, when it may just be one so is really under 1 millions views. i cant explain it well, but you can understand what i am trying to say.
This means that with a total UK population of 58,789,194, according to the 2001 census, each viewer with a BARB reporting box represents over 5,000 people.
The box records exactly what programmes they watch, and the panellists indicate who is in the room watching by pressing a button on a remote control handset.
11. (Original post by tea_or_coffee?)
Does the government/bbc monitor what we watch???
Not sure, but I'm pretty sure Sky know what their users watch if they wanted to know.
12. (Original post by Sephiroth)
It doesn't sound very accurate. I mean, surely the kind of programs these people watch will be based on their demographics. If 90% of the participants are over 18 it's unlikely they're watching cartoons for example. Or if only 20% are religious people that will make ratings for religious programs seem lower than they are.
I believe the selected households are meant to accurately represent the demographics of the population.

But it's nothing like the states
13. Its not very accurate TBH IMO
14. (Original post by ChrisBan)
wow, so how can they say 3 million viewers are watching a certain program when they are talking out their arses, when the data collected is from only 5000 people and they just average it to 58 million.
15. (Original post by Numberone-outkast)
wow, so how can they say 3 million viewers are watching a certain program when they are talking out their arses, when the data collected is from only 5000 people and they just average it to 58 million.
I guess it is done by the law of averages. I guess they will have houses that represent the average household in the UK. It sounds pretty similar to how the would work out opinion polls for the political parties, and is just as inaccurate
16. oh come on its just an estimate.
17. The margin of error is about 1.4% of the reported figures, so not that bad.
18. (Original post by secretmessages)
The margin of error is about 1.4% of the reported figures, so not that bad.
How can you know this when you don't track the whole country?
19. Having read the Wikipedia article I sincerely hope it is false, because I feel utterly hoodwinked. Surely they cannot derive UK viewing figures for potentially millions of people from just 5,000 people. This is ridiculous!

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