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Film Rating

There are a number of film rating systems worldwide: --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_rating_systems [Oct 2004]

United States

In the United States, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) issues ratings for movies. The system was instituted in 1968 and is voluntary; however, most movie theater chains will not show unrated films.

The ratings as they exist in 2003 are:

For history and more details, see MPAA film rating system. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movie_ratings#United_States [Aug 2004]

Nielsen ratings

When (US) TV viewers or entertainment writers refer to "ratings," they are talking about Nielsen Ratings, a system developed by the New York City based Nielsen Media Research, Inc. firm to determine which shows television viewers watch at what times. The system as it exists today was developed in the early 1960s by Arthur Nielsen, and has since been the primary source of audience measurement information in the television industry. Since television as a business makes money by selling audiences to advertisers, the Nielsen Television Ratings are the single most important element in determining advertising rates, schedules, and program content.

Nielsen Television Ratings statistics are gathered in two ways: one is by extensive use of surveys, where viewers in various demographics are asked to report what television shows they watch at what times. The other is by the use of a limited number of Nielsen Boxes, which are small computers hooked up to a television in a home, which electronically records its activities. These Nielsen Boxes allow market researchers to study television viewing habits on a minute to minute basis, seeing at exactly what moment a viewer changed channels or turned off their TV.

Nielsen Television Ratings are reported by ranking the percentage for each show of all viewers watching television at a given time. One "point" on the scale represents one tenth of a percentage point.

The Nielsen Media Research, Inc. company also provides statistics on estimated total number of viewers, and on specific demographics. Advertising rates are less influenced by total number of viewers than they are by appealing to particular demographics, such as age, sex, economic class, and area. Younger viewers are considered more attractive for many products, where as in some cases older and wealthier audiences are desired, or female audiences are desired over males. Television ratings are not an exact science, but they are a powerful force in determining the programming in an industry where millions of dollars are at stake every day.

In 2004, the company introduced a new system to measure ratings using electronic equipment rather than paper diaries. The system was criticized by News Corporation and advocates for minorities.

The company is owned by Dutch conglomerate VNU. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nielsen_ratings [Oct 2004]

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