Friday, August 19, 2011

True Strength: Looking Ahead to 2011-12

In this post, I'm going to discuss the implementation of True Strength on this blarg in the future.

Beginning with the 2011-12 season, I will be implementing "True Strength" in a lot of the regular goings-on around here. This is a bit of a touchy thing to try to pull off because this new stat doesn't really have any legitimacy at this point. Though I've explained everything I've done to get to this formula, most of the "True Strength" posts have not been heavily-viewed even by my microscopic traffic standards. Turns out people are not very interested in the minutiae of the process in creating a statistic!!! So I don't think I can just start talking about the "True Strength" of every show on TV and expect people to follow along. I'm going to have to be fairly careful about how I use it. Here's preliminarily what I'm planning for True Strength as it relates to the current and upcoming features of the site:

Fall Preview: The third annual edition of the hour-by-hour fall preview begins on Sunday. I will use True Strength indirectly to come up with a measurement of timeslot difficulty, but that's about the extent of it in that project.

Daily Ratings: I won't have a "final" True Strength rating until the week after the "finals" come out (more on that below), but I will include a preliminary True Strength for each show in the daily tables that I did during the regular season. I'm still sort of unclear on how I will integrate it into the "What Matters" analysis, but my instinct is that I will probably bring it up when there are significant changes in a show's situation but almost always use it in tandem with the actual ratings differences.

Five-Spots/Spotlights: I'm planning on bringing back my weekly Five-Spot posts running down the week in TV (though I'm not quite sure when and in what form yet), and at some point I will hopefully be able to get back into the "feature"-type posts I call Spotlights. Basically all I can say is what I said above: it'll be useful when there are significant changes in situation, but I'm going to try to continue mostly using actual ratings so I don't get too obscure.

Demos Year-to-Year: This will continue to be entirely based on adults 18-49 ratings, simply because I am a little uncertain about how this thing will work on a year-to-year basis. As some 2011-12 numbers come in, I may become confident enough to integrate it.

First Two Weeks: I will keep looking at the first two weeks of new scripted programs on broadcast, and I think this feature is actually going to incorporate True Strength pretty heavily. I feel like the system really took a hit last year because it didn't adjust for lead-ins, so it'll be nice to have that around. I'm pretty certain the "system" part (in which I line all the new shows up) will be based entirely on True Strength, but as in the other features described above, the actual prose stuff will have more ratings talk so as not to become too obscure.

SpotVault: This is a new feature that I'll explain in much more detail in a few weeks. Suffice to say for now I'm going to be archiving weekly ratings here starting with fall 2011. The True Strength metric will be a part of this, but I will also include more basic, relatively easy-to-digest info. The True Strengths included herein will be "final" and won't be updated till at least the week after the rating comes out. (Again, more on that below.)

True Strength Top 25: Another new feature in which I list the top 25 broadcast shows each week in True Strength. There is going to be some mechanism by which I compare this to the actual adults 18-49 rating top 25, but I'm not exactly sure yet how I will do that.

The "True" Bubble: I'm putting up some posts next week in which I look at the True Strength averages of the 2010-11 bubble shows on each network. I may do that during the regular season, too, but I imagine it will be a monthly endeavor at most. As I said in the True Strength intro, I don't think it's possible to do the renew/cancel thing much better than TVBTN already does, so I won't devote a ton of time here.

"Preliminary" and "Final" True Strength

As I said yesterday, I'm hoping to have half-hour breakdowns for every show in 2011-12. Most of the time I won't get those until Wednesday or Thursday of the following week. I desperately want this stat to be the best it can be, so I'm willing to wait on those and use them to come up with a "final" True Strength calculation. In the meantime, I will operate using "preliminary" True Strength that counts every show as having the same rating/share through its entire duration - in other words, how I've been doing it for all of 2010-11. To reiterate, "preliminary" and "final" True Strengths won't be on the same timetable as "preliminary" and "final" ratings because there'll be a delay in getting the half-hourlies.

As far as where the "preliminary" and the "final" True Strengths will show up: the "finals" will be used for the True Top 25 and the SpotVault. The "prelims" will definitely be used in the daily Spotted Ratings posts, and I won't ever go back and update those for finals. So you'll have to check the SpotVault for the finals. Those are definites. The other stuff will be more mixed depending on availability; I'm probably not gonna hold off on stuff like First Two Weeks until I have all the finals in for both weeks, although in some cases I may go back in later and update them for finals.

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