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by Joe Mandese

Typically, we discuss the future of television on these pages. Today, I’d like to recognize an important part of its past. Or, I should say, a part of its passing. The death notice came quietly the other day, and it took the form of a Nielsen communiqué that nonchalantly informed clients it would cease collecting and reporting data on television remote controls at the end of this year.The news elicited no banner headlines in the industry trade press, or front page stories in The New York Times. It logged nary a blog. For all intent and purposes it was a non-story, and no big event. In fact, Nielsen said it was discontinuing its tracking of remote controls because they had approached ubiquity and the data has essentially become irrelevant.

“Reporting this household characteristic in our reports and systems is not as relevant as when this technology was first introduced,” the TV ratings giant stated. “Not reporting on remote control will enable us to report on another, more relevant technology in the future.”

One can only imagine what that other, more relevant future television technology might be, but it had better be pretty significant if Nielsen is bumping remotes to make room for it.