The new rating system hopes to “properly monetize the disgust of American consumers”
The Nielsen Company, which calculates ratings for all television programming, has announced they’re instituting an “outrage rating” for all programs.
“Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels have begun replacing the ratings box,” said Mitch Barns, CEO of the Nielsen Company, at a Friday press conference. “How many young people do you know with a ratings box in their TV? Everyone has a Twitter or Facebook account.”
The decision was made based off of eight years of researching the American public’s television and online habits. Barns said the company saw a “shift” in the way people absorbed certain programming. He notes that not only are people streaming more than ever, they’re watching and talking about programming that they don’t like.
“Back in the day, if you didn’t like a program for whatever reason, you didn’t watch and it didn’t register in our boxes. Nowadays though, people are still patronizing programming they don’t care for, which changes the playing field. Many minorities say they were disgusted by the Oscars, but the outrage rating in that demographic was at an all-time high that entire night.”
Additionally, Barns noted the amount of people discussing topics from TV programming that they didn’t actually watch.
“We saw so many Tweets like ‘Raven-Symone said this today? I hate that girl.’ At a certain point, credit has to go to the television program for creating engaging content. All publicity is good publicity, even in our world. Who’s talking about anything on C-SPAN?”
Nielsen worked closely with digital marketing agencies to create an algorithm that combed through hashtags, and trending topics on major social media sites. The algorithm helped determine how many people were talking about a television program.
Content with the name of a television personality or show and the terms, “problematic,” “F—boy,” “coon,” “bigot,” or “misogyny” were given special preference.
The research found out that Fox News Channel is currently the most outrageous channel in America, and Donald Trump the most outrageous personality, narrowly beating out the view host Raven Symone.
The outrage rating will not only attempt to help TV channels determine how their programming is being received, but also how advertisers should spend money. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign speeches have garnered advertising rates that rival the Super Bowl’s, but Nielsen officials note a fall off after six minutes of him talking. “Our research found that many people watched Trump just long enough to become sufficiently upset, then they tweeted or posted about him,” Barns says.
Industry insiders say many channels are overhauling their content to focus strictly on the outrage rating. “Finding good content is difficult. S—stirring with people who want a reason to be upset that day is easy,” says one tenured insider.
Another insider surmises that “millennials are looking for contentious programming before engaging, humorous, or informative“
The insider says CNN is rumored to be developing a “Respectability Today” program with anchor Don Lemon. C-SPAN is considering overhauling their entire format and playing a continuous loop of Beyonce’s Superbowl 50 halftime performance. Stacey Dash is in talks to partner with Raven Symone and Kate Hudson on “the Grey Hour,” a television show focused on racial harmony and “the myth of white privilege.”