STAY TUNED: How do the two services rate? Ever-expanding TMZ

Margaret writes: "I have tried finding my favorite TV program to no avail. How can I find 'TMZ' on television."

The syndicated half-hour gossip show "TMZ" airs at 1 a.m. on TV 6, Southwest Florida's CW affiliate; followed by "Dish Nation," which you might also enjoy.

You didn't say if you recently moved here from another market, but seven stations across the country also air "TMZ Live," an afternoon chatfest featuring the TMZ crew. That show is set to add markets this fall; but mostly on Fox owned stations.

I spoke with WINK and TV 6 Program Director Greg Stetson, and he confirmed that as of right now, "TMZ Live" is not available for broadcast here.

However, it hasn't been too long since the cancellation of "Anderson Live," was announced. "And just last week, Ricki Lake's new show got the ax. So, who knows, "TMZ's" distributors, Warner Bros./Telepictures, have time to reconsider the slow rollout and take advantage of the open slots.

The name TMZ, of course, stands for Thirty Mile Zone, or thirty-mile zone radius from the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Forbearer celebrity driven website TMZ.com launched in November 2005. The show followed in September 2007.

Who's No. 1?

Joe writes: "As an ancient ex-broadcaster, I never miss your column. However, I don't think you do readers a service by simply reprinting news releases from WBBH and WINK. The real story is that you have a conflict between rating services which is very confusing to viewers. Both are No. 1.

"I assume that WBBH is using Nielsen. I don't know what WINK is using to get a sample of 18,000 homes. What is the difference in the methodology? Do major national advertisers like Procter & Gamble, GEICO, etc. and the big advertising agencies accept WINK's numbers? Statistically, the larger sample may not produce significantly better results. News wars are always interesting."

Thanks, Joe. Back in December 2011 I wrote a piece on Rentrak, or as I called 'em, the new kid in town. That's where WINK gets its numbers.

But I think you raise a good point, so for the benefit of all the readers, let's discuss the numbers one more time.

As you probably already know, Nielsen gets its numbers two different ways:

Diaries, which are sent to homes and filled out by folks just like you and me

Metered homes

Before I started writing about TV for the Daily News, I actually had the opportunity to fill out a diary. It came to my mailbox, with some cash (yes, cash!) inside an envelope. I had to log all my viewing, and write down who was in the room with me.

Metered homes are just what they sound like. A Nielsen representative comes to your home, attaches a bunch of doohickeys to your set and voilĂ ! Big Brother is watching you watch TV.

Rentrak utilizes existing set-top boxes from your friendly neighborhood satellite/cable provider.

This is where Rentrak has the upper hand. This passive approach to gathering data allows them to collect from far more homes.

Why is that important? According to Nielsen estimates, we have 504,240 TV homes in Southwest Florida. By all accounts, Nielsen has people meters in fewer than 500 homes, while Rentrak collects data from about 15,000 homes.

While Rentrak may not be the household name for TV data yet, the company has been around for three decades, making a name for itself tracking box office and DVD numbers.

Making a push into the TV market in the past three years, Rentrak has added a multitude of stations that subscribe to its service.

As for advertisers and agencies, yes, they are paying attention to Rentrak's numbers.

As for running information from the TV station's news releases, I have come to a place of acceptance with that. These measurement companies are very protective of their data, as they do not want it released to those who are not paying subscribers. And, yes, stations have been known to release selected numbers that paint themselves in a better light. But I must say, our local stations have been very forthcoming when providing data.

By the way, Rentrak agreed to provide information to this newspaper on a limited basis. Nielsen agreed to provide data to this newspaper one time only, and refused to sell the local data to this newspaper.

Up, up and away

TJA writes: "Anyone going to mention the Comcast 6.4 percent rate increases that just kicked in? Once 'free' digital adapters now $2 a month each? Time to call Prism?"

TJA, there are lots of options out there. It's important to pick the one that's right for you.

Netflix, Hulu, satellite, cable? Prism is worth a test drive. But remember, it utilizes DSL lines to provide a signal. So how well it works may just depend on where you live.

Write me

Have a question of comment about TV? Radio? Those pesky drones that follow us around? Write bgreen@naplesnews.com.

Until next time, be like a fine piano and stay tuned.

Bill Green is a Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com journalist and a professional couch potato. Contact him at bgreen@naplesnews.com. Connect with him at facebook.com/billdgreen.

© 2013 gonaples.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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