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Analog shutoff may put asterisk on 2009 February sweeps

Steven Kim

Here's a nice wrinkle -- issues associated with the digital switchover on Feb. 17, 2009 may taint the Nielsen "sweeps" ratings for that month. Depending on which reports you believe, the switch to all-digital signals will either be a small bump or an apocalyptical cliff. But one thing's for sure -- lots of money rides on those sweeps numbers, and Nielsen cannot break its role as an impartial observer and give its "families" any special help in making the transition. For its part, Nielsen has no plans to change operations for February 2009, which we think is the best approach. Despite ethnographic discrepancies in homes with unready TVs, there's still time and lots of PSAs in the works. Looking into our notoriously murky crystal ball, we see lots of panicked consumers buying (sans coupon) DTV converter boxes during the third week of February and a week or two of skewed data.

[Image courtesy Scott Hanselman's ComputerZen]

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