Monday, March 16, 2009

New Report Expected To Explode TV Viewing Myths

Broadcasting & Cable reported today on a new study that could hvae a big impact on ad spending.

A group of the biggest names in TV research are set to explode some commonly held myths about how consumers watch TV. Their findings about what’s really going on in the world of video consumption will be unveiled next week. The survey is expected to reveal such things as which age groups do the most media multi-tasking; whether younger viewers are really shifting away from traditional TV and how much commercial time viewers are exposed to.

The Council for Research Excellence, a cross-industry think tank of top executives from agencies and TV networks, has spent the past year executing a $3.5 billion project called the “Video Consumer Mapping Study.” The initiative is described as, “the largest and most significant observational study of media activity ever undertaken.”

Shari Anne Brill, Senior-VP director of at Carat, who has been intimately involved with the project said, “People are in fact watching commercials and not running screaming from the room and younger viewers haven’t abandoned television.” The major findings are being kept for a presentation on Thursday, March 26.

The study was funded, in part, by Nielsen Media Research, and was created to investigate commonly held, but perhaps mistaken beliefs about TV viewings. The Council for Research Excellence put together their wish-list of questions to help better inform marketers about their fears on such issues as DVR penetration.

Data was gathered via Webcams that tracked consumer behavior in and out of the home. Participants were also tracked by researchers through their daily lives. If consumers were using media during private times such as bathroom visits or when they were getting ready for bed, they were asked to track that in a diary. The research council recruited 350 people from six TV markets and conducted two phases of the survey in Spring and Fall 2008. It also offered new media devices at a discount to people to try to measure how interested people would be in certain products if their prices came down.

The findings could have an impact on this year's upfronts and will create an interesting discussion with advertisers looking to wisely spend decreasing budgets.

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