Sweeps ( A television ratings
What are "sweeps"?
Sweeps are time periods when television stations/networks typically
schedule programming designed to attract a larger than usual audience.
Why? Sweep period programming is designed to attract
larger audiences who in turn are exposed to advertising commercial
messages. Thus, when the ratings for the sweeps period are revealed,
the TV station/network can charge its advertisers more money because
more people watched.
When do sweeps occur? Typically four times a year: the
months of February, May, July and November.
"The Sweeps" - Local
Several times each year, Nielsen
Station Index (Nielsen Media Research's local market measurement
service) collects demographic viewing data from sample homes in every
one of the 210
television markets in the United States. Each home in the sample
maintains a paper viewing diary for one week. Each household member
writes down what programs they and their guests watch in their home
during the course of that week.
The term "sweeps" has been
around since the beginning of TV measurement. These measurement
periods are called "sweeps" because Nielsen Media Research
mails out diaries to certain households around the country, then
collects and processes the diaries in a specific order. The diaries
from the Northeast regions are processed first and then swept up
around the country, from the South, to the Midwest and finally ending
with the West. The standard sweep months include November, February,
May and July of each year.
In some of the larger markets, there
are as many as three additional months (October, January and March)
during which diaries are used to provide viewer information. Standard
reports based on the diary data are produced and issued regularly to
clients. This viewing information is used by local television
stations, cable systems, advertisers and their agencies to buy and
sell commercial advertising as well as make programming decisions.
(Source: Nielsen Media )