The other day I got it in my head that it might be interesting to compare downloaded TV show figures with Nielsen ratings, to see where they matched and where they differed. While it’s obvious that the popular shows such as “CSI” will do well in both cases, I thought it would be particularly interesting to find programs that might be more influential online than on-air.
I think the idea’s sound, but it’s incredibly difficult to execute. There are many torrent sites and trackers, and the number of torrent downloads does not necessarily correlate to file downloads. Then there’s what magazine circulation audits refer to as the “pass-along” multiplier, not to mention newsgroups, which also carry TV episodes but can’t really be tracked (except by individual ISPs.)
So, essentially, it’s not going to work — which is okay, because in the process of discovering that fact I stumbled onto a new question. Over at Mininova, the biggest torrent directory to my knowledge, they’ve recently added public access to various statistics.
As of this writing, the most popular torrent of all time is an 8th June 05 episode of “The Daily Show,” with more than one million downloads. This seems like it has to be a glitch — the next most popular “Daily Show” is just below 100,000.
So now I’m wondering: assuming the stats hold up, what happened on that day in June that resulted in a 12-fold increase in Stewart love?