CAS News

CAS students visit Nielsen’s Call Center

TAMPA, Fla. – Students from a University of South Florida College of Arts and Sciences media and politics class received an exclusive tour in March of Nielsen’s research and corporate office in Oldsmar to learn about the Sunshine State Survey.

Susan MacManus, distinguished university professor, went to Nielsen’s Call Center with her media and politics class to see how the 2014 Sunshine State Survey questions are translated for the public. Nielsen is a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. The Sunshine State Survey provides leaders and academics in the public and private sectors with trend line data about opinions and concerns from citizens on a variety of issues.

The School of Public Affairs, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, will be administering and analyzing the results of Sunshine State Survey with Nielsen. MacManus and her class worked with Nielsen as well to help develop the updated Sunshine State Survey.

“This survey has become a critical source of citizen opinions on key issues facing this rapidly changing state,” Angela Crist, spokesperson for the Sunshine State Survey said. “This work between USF School of Public Affairs and Nielsen will give our students an incredible opportunity to be a part of an important survey that can influence change.”

A mass communications and political science senior, Rebecca Torriani, went on the Nielsen tour to learn more about the process and technology in the call center. Torriani said she saw the calling offices for the survey and a data room where large machines and workers decode data on daily and weekly rating statistics. There also was a room filled with boxes of diaries from various locations across the state and country from people who recorded what they watched, on what day and for how long.

“I learned how and why diaries are still used and why it is the most efficient and accurate way to keep track of what people watch and how often,” Torriani said.

The tour was Nielsen’s way of showing MacManus and her students how Nielsen is making the students’ work come to life. The 2014 Sunshine State Survey has a few questions from students refined and reworded to fit the survey structure. The 2014 Sunshine State Survey results will be released in September. Torriani said she hopes the new survey will make an impact because of the class’s participation.

“I am interested to see the public’s responses to the survey,” Torriani said. “It would be nice to see how people feel about this survey compared to last year.”

The tour also allowed students to see how important television ratings are for stations and networks. Torriani said the tour gave students the opportunity to see what happens in the background after research is collected for various companies.

“One thing I found interesting was the amount of plaques Nielsen had posted on their walls of patents all their researchers and scientists have developed,” Torriani said. “There were over a couple hundred plaques on the wall so it was pretty cool to see how much work is put into TV ratings.”

Nielsen is currently creating a new box that will track what is being watched just by the click of a remote and through face recognition. Torriani said overall the tour was a great opportunity to witness what Nielsen does for the media industry.

“Nielsen is an extraordinary company with a lot of innovative advancements that can be quite useful in the future,” Torriani said.


Filed under:School of Public Affairs Arts and Sciences    
Author: Jasmin Lankford