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August 03, 2012

The Onion's Sex House has quietly become a trenchant dystopia and great tv

I was shocked when an episode two popped up. The first episode was such a darkly comedic attack on reality tv that it seemed impossible to follow it. I should have trusted The Onion. This show has turned from a one note Big Brother/Real World rip-off into a show about ordinary people confronting the over-sexualized world they dwell in. The show plays straight--which is to say Kafka-esque--with many of the ideas of reality tv. They actually are locked in a house. You never see reality tv folks go shopping; these people trapped in the Sex House have no food. Guest stars creep in like bogeymen. And something is terribly wrong with the heat. Sex without context is cold, clinical. The sexy dares, challenges, outfits, pep talks all work against the utter lack of chemistry amongst the group. It's an orgy designed by aliens, by PR flacks. The characters are at first glance a carefully manicured selection of tokens: the jock, the virgin, the attention-craver, the airhead, the weirdly old guy, the black guy, the gay guy. But because of their tokenism, none of them are a good match. Thus Sex House is No Exit, with blue balls. And the straight man is the gay guy. Somehow this is the best thing on tv. Sex House Episode 4: Erin Bares It All

July 31, 2012

Nielsen sued for fixing television ratings data

They admitted it was tampered with and promised to fix the problem. They didn't. Now they are getting their pants sued off. Nielsen Sued for Billions for Allegedly Manipulating Television Ratings Data
Let me just preface this by saying that the lawsuit in question is being filed by an Indian television news network — New Delhi Television Limited — but the practices that Nielsen allegedly engaged in could very well be going on anywhere. If a company is willing to be corrupt in one country, there’s no reason to think that the same company wouldn’t be corrupt in another, like the United States. If so, the implications could be huge. I won’t bore you with ALL the legal details of the case (the initial filing was 194 pages long). In short, according to THR, the Indian news station, NDTV, is alleging that Nielsen has been manipulating television ratings data for eight years, that Nielsen acknowledged as much, vowed to make changes, and did not. As a result, NDTV is suing the company for billions in damages claiming that manipulated data damaged the oldest news network in the country. The allegations allege that Nielsen, in cost-cutting measures, drastically reduced the sample size to only 8,000 households (that’s a preposterous number given the total population of India). Of those 8,000 households, many of the Peoplemeters have been installed in the homes of government officials, who have manipulated the data to show television viewership that does not exist. Moreover, television stations are paying people with these Peoplemeters to turn their linked televisions onto their channels, even when no one is in the room to watch them (they also hit the “guest buttons” to show more people in a room than actually exist). Employees are also allegedly taking bribes in exchange for manipulating that data.