on polling, power and TV pickups

There’s a nice little diary piece in December’s issue of the MRS’s Research magazine.  It reports that the takeaway website hungryhouse.co.uk recons you can predict which 2 acts each week on X Factor will end up singing for survival based on the volume of orders made during their performance.

The media also love trying to predict stuff based on twitter volume or sentiment, but twitter users are hardly a representative sample of the UK population.  But a sample like a TV audience voting on a live event becomes much more measurable.  I wonder what other quantitative tools there are out there that could measure telephone voting intentions for live TV shows?  Toilets flushing during I’m a Celebrity?  Power surges (due to kettles being boiled) during performances on Strictly Come Dancing?

Incidentally, I once caught a really interesting documentary about how the National Grid manage our power supply.  The bloke in charge that evening had one screen showing all the power stations and major cable type stuff – and another with Eastenders on it. 

pic from National Grid on flickr, CC applies

As the Eastenders end credits rolled, he brought extra power from a power station in France online to cope with all the kettle boiling that was about to happen.  He said they couldn’t just turn it on at 7.58pm as the program might be running late or early so they had to have it on screen.  They call this a TV Pickup and a popular soap ending can result in an electricity uptake of the equivalent of half a million kettles being switched on.

So now you know…

2 thoughts on “on polling, power and TV pickups

  1. Sorry Jake, it was 2 years ago! But I was wondering this Christmas about increased power demand due to all that fairy lights and outside lights (it turns out we actually use less power despite all the lights and turkey cooking as all the offices and factories are closed) and found loads of stuff on the BBC News website about it, so you could try there.

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