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As we all know, words are wind, but sometimes that wind can be very biting. “…We're still doing TV ratings on something more analogous to political polling," says Time Magazine columnist James Poniewozik in a recent Public Radio International interview. Hard truths cut both ways though as the media industry continues to support and rely upon a seemingly flawed system. Nielsen might possibly retort “you know nothing” to such a comment , but as the media and market research industries begin to embrace big data as never before, the entire television ecosystem hinges on approximately twenty-five thousand Nielsen People Meter households whose data generate the incumbent TV currency. The U.S. Census currently places the U.S. household population at over 115 million, which equates to one people meter for every 4,600 U.S. households. A set-top box (STB) sample of 1.5 million households equals a 1:77 STB to U.S. household ratio.

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National Geographic Channel, a network that in recent years has become known for its uncommonly creative publicity and promotion practices, faces just such challenges in the month ahead when it will debut “Eat: The Story of Food,” a three-night, six-hour documentary miniseries beginning Friday, November 21 that should leave sated anyone hungry for fresh information and fascinating historical footnotes about the title subject, and two new ongoing half-hour series, “Eric Greenspan is Hungry,” in which the celebrity chef travels around the country in search of the best meat, poultry and shellfish recipes, and “Chug,” a series in which comedian and TV host Zane Lamprey travels the world sampling the finest cocktails (and some interesting cuisine). “Greenspan” and “Chug” debut on Monday, November 24.

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