Sunday, February 27, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
If Nielsen diaries are manually tabulated by a real person, like piecework, whoever counts my 15-minute increments of broadcast or cable television viewing will move three diaries through in record time. Two of the three don't count at all; one TV was never turned on and the other discarded just before the survey period but after the diaries were issued. Regarding the third, only one hour and 45 minutes in one week by one viewer will need to be counted or scored or whatever they do. And that was a couple of times when CNN news was on in the background while I was brushing my teeth and looking for clean underwear. The other two times, which actually might count as "watching," more like rubbernecking, were pondering the offerings of the Falun Dafa network, one of which currently is a Korean drama (The Great Queen Seondeok) with Mandarin audio and English subtitles. My limited viewing period also featured a behind-the-scenes production story of Shen Yun; subscription solicitiations (advertising) to The Epoch Times and a lot of odd health and wellness promotions. Still, much of it was in Chinese and thus a language learning opportunity. (My Chinese painting teacher has been learning English through Bible study.)
Not that the big new 50" plasma TV hasn't been used. Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber is a veritable travelogue of Wudang, but watching personal DVDs or Netflix doesn't count in Nielsen's rating eyes. (This was verified through at least two phone conversations from representatives of the company, making sure I was doing the diaries correctly. "Don't forget to mail them on Thursday," I was reminded.) Too bad. Personally selected and controlled viewing might be a statistic that would be useful.
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Six days after my Nielsen survey ratings exercise began, I found reason to make a second entry in my diary. Doing this for TV watching is a little like writing down all the food you eat when monitoring your diet; if you know you have to write it down, do you eat it? The study affects the behavior.
A little hesitantly, I clicked-on the new 50-inch plasma TV in my closet, perhaps the only big TV in the country that was not tuned in to the Superbowl on Sunday. I just wanted a little background information while I completed my morning toilet...a little news to confirm that there is still a world to enter (after the Superbowl and associated cultural controversies like the "groupon" Tibet ad controversy** which I only heard out about--orally --this morning from a co-worker).
I tune to my weekly 15 minutes of CNN...but wait! I spy a flyer handed to me during last week's Chinese New Year parade promoting Oceanic Time Warner's Channel 698--a lot of Chinese text--(the distributor apologized that it was all in Chinese), but I did recognize some of the images for Chinese (and Korean) dramas on offer. Hmmm...I might like this!
So forgoing CNN, I locate digital channel 698 (now I know I get digital), the New Tang Dynasty Television network (NTDTV). The morning slot featured English newscasts of Asian events, for instance, a story about a pro-democacy person's funeral webcast that was banned in Hong Kong. (I think I read about this on a Hong Kong blog I follow.) Something disastrous going on in Malaysia or Thailand, a lot of people putting their meagre but colorfully wrapped possessions in the beds of small pickup trucks...a "wish lantern" festival in Singapore...a feature on the upsurge in recruitment and training of the Japanese national guard. All much more interesting than CNN. Reminded me a little of watching TV in Beijing, slightly off-kilter, foreign, but real.
So I did a search for the network schedule, and besides there was something that sounded familiar about NTDTV. And what was it? NTDTV is the television arm of the Falun Dafa "empire," or dynasty, kind of a 700 (Qi Bai) Club with "a regular focus on the promotion of traditional Chinese culture, and [which] devotes extensive news coverage to Chinese human rights issues, taking a critical stance on the Communist Party of China." The network's website features promotional clips for Shen Yun, the cultural extravaganza I attended a month ago, and explains NTDVD's mission to:
- Bring truthful and uncensored information into and out of China
- Restore and promote traditional Chinese culture and values
- Facilitate mutual understanding between the East and West
And who can really argue with any of that? (Well, maybe Taoists, if Confucianism is the traditional value being restored.) The "Tang Dynasty" part of the network puzzled me. I suppose there is a conservative longing, (a Tang Restoration?) to return to an era that is generally considered one of the highest points in Chinese civilization. Sort of the way Pat Robertson and his Christian Broadcasting Network longs to return to some biblically based better past.
So, this might kick up my diary entries for the next two days. I'm always willing to check something out before passing judgment. More than news and serialized historical dramas, there might be interesting qigong shows. Meditating with the TV. And more. "Health and Healing with Dr. Noto." "A Decade of Courage: The Falun Gong Story, "an ongoing documentary about laogai and organ harvesting that won an award at the Detective Fest Film Festival in Moscow and was an Official Selection at the Kastav Film Festival in Croatia. Are these like the Sundance Festivals of the former Soviet Union? Where else could you see this?
Like I said, won't Nielsen be surprised? Skewing the survey with The 698 Club...Liu Jiu Ba Hui.
**If you have to explain or justify an adverstisement, it was likely a mistake. The name recognition gained is probably all negative in the end.