I finally got around to reading the colossal cover story in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine on the challenge firms like Nielsen will face in terms of devising accurate media audience measurement schemes in the future. Things were a lot easier for Nielsen in the days when our media options were limited to television's Big 3 and PBS. With the cornucopia of communications and media technologies and outlets now at our collective disposal, figuring out who is watching what, when, where, and how, is far more challenging.
In his NYT Magazine essay, "Our Ratings, Ourselves," author Jon Gertner interviews Bob Luff, the chief technology officer at Nielsen, who laments how difficult it is to keep tabs on what people are watching in this new world of information abundance. Here's the portion of the essay I really love:
"Luff seemed to view the modern American home as a digital zoo where the lion is about to lie down with the lamb: radio is going on the Web, TV is going on cellphones, the Web is going on TV and everything, it seems, is moving to video-on-demand (V.O.D.) and (quite possibly) the iPod and the PlayStation Portable. 'Television and media,' Luff said over the noise of five sets tuned to five different channels, 'will change more in the next 3 or 5 years than it's changed in the past 50.'"
Once again, more proof of just how much the media world has changed for the better.