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TiVo mines ‘political views’

October 12, 2012

A report in the NY Times recounts TiVo research that underlines political stereotypes in the US: it seems Republicans are very interested in golf while registered Democrats seem to be partial to cartoons.

The results come from an analysis assembled by TRA Inc. (TiVo Research and Analytics), and are based on a model that matches viewing data from cable set-top boxes with voter-registration information from 186,000 households. Measured during the first two quarters of 2012 TRA listed programmes by how they performed with registered voters of either party (as well as independents) compared to a base of all registered voters.

The conclusions pointed to television viewing that is every bit as polarised as the political culture. The research listed the top 20 shows for Democratic and Republican viewers and not one network show appeared on both lists.

The study did not rank shows by overall popularity. Instead, they were ranked by how severely they were skewed by party preference. So a little-viewed show on the CW network like “Supernatural” turned out to have a substantial skew toward Democratic voters; 13 per cent above the base. (The base, or index, is given a value of 100; thus “Supernatural” indexed at 113 among registered Democrats measured by TRA.) Meanwhile, two of the top indexing shows for Republicans were PGA golf tournaments.

Over all, the Democratic list contained a lot of animated comedies — “The Cleveland Show”, “Family Guy”, “American Dad” — as well as lightly viewed but critically acclaimed sitcoms like “30 Rock” and “Community.”

The Republican list, beyond sports (Nascar was also big), was populated with a host of reality shows — “The Biggest Loser”, “Survivor”, “American Idol” and “The Amazing Race.’

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