Ratings for EVERYTHING

downloadEver since I was a little kid, I’ve been fascinated by ratings. I remember eagerly opening up the newspaper every week to look at the box office results, a habit I continue to this day (online). I love seeing how much each movie earned and how it compared to the other movies that week.

Similarly, I’m intrigued by lists of bestselling books and snapshots of the most-watched TV shows each week. And occasionally I discover new music through the iTunes billboard.

The leader of most of these ratings, charts, and statistics, of course, is Nielsen. It’s an audience measurement company that has been around since the 1920s, when their focus was on radio.

I recently went searching for Nielsen’s current list for television–I think I wanted to see if my beloved Survivor made the list. What I found, though, was far more interesting.

Nielsen now rates everything. 

Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s pretty close. Nielsen has a top 10 list they post every now and then (the frequency is quite vague) that encompasses way more categories than you might think. For example, for the last few weeks, did you know that:

  • FIFA 16 was the #1 video game?
  • Fantastic Four–which approximately 3 people saw in the theater–was the #7 most-purchased DVD and Blu-ray? Elf, a 2003 film was #10.
  • WWE Monday Night RAW was #9 on the “social” list?

This is where it gets really weird:

  • Jack Daniel’s was #1 on the alcohol list at $27 million in sales. Yes, $27 million was spent on Jack Daniel’s in one month.
  • Maybelline was #1 on the health and beauty list at $93 million! In one month! I’m the most bewildered by this. How is that even possible? Pantene won in the hair products subcategory, and Neutrogena took the skin care subcategory.
  • Nestle Pure Life is the #1 water. Yes, Nielsen tracks bottled water sales, along with soda (Coca-Cola, by a longshot) and coffee (Folgers, surprisingly).
  • Finally, Snacks (salty and sweet). Lay’s has a HUGE lead over Doritos in the salty category, and Kisses (Hershey’s, I assume) won sweets.

Seriously, I love this stuff. Who knew that Nielsen was tracking things like alcohol, skin lotion, bottled water, and candy? I sure didn’t. If you find anything interesting on the top 10 chart, let me know. It’s actually quite easy to read–it’s a nice layout–but it’s a lot of data, so I’m sure I missed something cool.