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Archives » Research

Viewers Claim To Tune Out During Election Season

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

A new survey commissioned by MGH, an integrated marketing communications agency, found that 32% of survey respondents change the channel as soon as a political advertisement airs and during political news coverage, and nearly half (47%) of viewers will change the channel or mute the TV during a negative political ad.

The Baltimore agency commissioned the survey to find if consumers change their viewing habits during election season.

As usual, the vast majority (88%) of respondents said they are turned off by negative political advertising. But as usual, the negative ads work.

Younger millennials aged 18-24, skewed higher in some measures:

  • Forty-five percent change the channel during political news coverage.
  • Thirty-nine percent change the channel as soon as they see a political advertisement.
  • Twenty percent are more likely to watch programs online, and 19% are more likely to record programs they want to watch to avoid commercials.

"This year's election is gearing up to be a tight race, and with tens of millions of advertising dollars being put toward mudslinging political television ads, marketers need to pay attention to some of these statistics to make sure that their consumers aren't changing the channel on their clients," said MGH President, Andy Malis. "During election years, television advertising space is limited and more expensive, so advertisers need to get creative and integrated with their media campaigns to ensure their message is getting through the clutter."

The key takeaways, according to MGH, are that marketers have the potential to lose more than one-third of their potential audience if a political ad airs – and nearly half if a negative political ad airs – in the same commercial block as theirs. Additionally, marketers that target the younger millennials may have an even tougher time reaching this audience through TV ads.

Still the spending is high, and a report released in March from Borrell Associates forecasts that out of the $9.8 billion that will be spent on political advertising for this year’s election, $5.6 billion will go toward broadcast TV and $939 million toward cable TV advertising. The New York Times estimates that at least $50 million worth of ads will appear in swing states in the next several weeks, about five months out from the election.

Time will tell if these viewers actually do tune out as they claim. Viewership was very strong during the GOP debates. ABC claimed big ratings for its “Your Voice, Your Vote – Republican Presidential Debate in New Hampshire” broadcast. Nielsen tallied 6.25 million viewers, including 1.73 million Adults 25-54 and 1.40 million Adults 18-49. The ABC debate topped the Fox News Channel’s December 15 debate with 1.31 million viewers.

According to January figures from The Pew Research Center for The People & The press, it is true that fewer Americans are closely following the campaign than four years ago. Cable TV leads among sources at 36%, but the Internet is next to last at 25% and has not grown in significance since 2007. So, those younger-skewing voters who claim to get ad-free news online might be exaggerating, or simply disinterested. Just 20% of those younger than 30 claimed to follow the campaign closely, down from 31% in 2008. But because younger voters skew Democrat, they may prick up their ears as the conventions and election near.

Equation Research conducted the survey in April 2012 on behalf of MGH. Equation surveyed 1,000 adults aged 18+ who had seen at least one political advertisement recently, located in states where presidential primaries had taken place.

April Internet Audio: Leaders Unchanged, But Big Year-Over-Year Gains

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

Triton Digital has released its monthly Internet audio Top 20 Ranker for April 2012. Slacker is up, CBS and Cumulus are down, and Pandora still leads.

The Ranker is a listing of the top-performing Internet audio stations and networks measured by the Webcast Metrics audience measurement platform. As Radio Ink details, the top five companies remain unchanged for March and April, and include Pandora, Clear Channel, CBS, Cumulus and Slacker. Based on measurements from 6 A.M. to 8 P.M. Monday through Friday, Slacker radio listenership jumped from 51,674 in March to 63,069 in April. Both Pandora and Clear Channel were slightly up, and CBS and Cumulus were down.

So not a lot of movement among the top five, but as Inside Radio describes, April’s Triton Digital Webcast Metrics report shows “in dramatic fashion” the hockey-stick growth internet radio listening has experienced over the last year. For the first time, Triton Digital measured more than 2 million “Average Active Sessions” among the top 20 webcasters in one month, representing a 71% increase over April 2011.

Pandora alone is up 119% to 1.37 million sessions over April 2011, and Clear Channel is up 94% to 246,000. Slacker is up 60% year-over-year (YoY) to 63,000

Webcast Metrics’ Average Active Sessions (AAS) are defined as “Total Listening Hours (TLH) divided by hours in the reported time period.” The “Domestic” Ranker quantifies listening done inside the U.S. based on log-based information provided by the station, this report is not MRC accredited. The “All Streams” Ranker merely verifies the quantity of streams without qualifying where they are being consumed.

Council for Research Excellence To Check Nielsen Accuracy In Local TV

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

There is always that nagging doubt—just how accurate are those Nielsen ratings? The Council for Research Excellence (CRE), a think-tank of senior-level media and advertising professionals, intends to find out. CRE will conduct a three-market study of various audience-measurement methods. CRE’s objective is to improve diary-based TV-audience measurement and in turn improve ratings quality.

The three television markets to be included in the “SQ:L” (for “Sample Quality: Local”) Study are Dallas-Fort Worth, the fifth-largest TV market and a Nielsen local people-meter (LPM) market; Albuquerque-Santa Fe, the 45th-largest TV market and a standard Nielsen-meter market; and Paducah, Kentucky-Cape Girardeau, Missouri-Harrisburg, Illinois -- Nielsen market # 81 and a diary market.

The markets were selected due to varying measurement methodology; varying market size; and divergent characteristics, such as geographical coverage, ethnic make-up, number of over-the-air households and penetration levels of electronic devices. During the standard May 2012 diary measurement, a separate diary sample was selected for Dallas, while identified “non-TV homes” in all three markets will receive a modified diary.

Sampled homes in all markets will be mailed a short questionnaire seeking answers on media equipment ownership and general viewing patterns. Homes identified as not having a television set will be contacted and asked if they have any source of viewing television programming; those saying “yes” will be sent a modified diary in which they will be asked to record what they view and the device used for viewing.

The study, involving the CRE’s Sample Quality, Set-top Box, Local Measurement and Media-related Universe Estimates Committees, marks the CRE’s second study of audience measurement in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Data analysis from a 2009 Universe Estimates Committee study of the market revealed significant differences from the Nielsen sample in ownership of HD sets and DVD players, and an unexpectedly high percentage of non-TV households. That same year, Nielsen garnered considerable bad press when local affiliate stations dropped the services. As Broadcasting & Cable reported, New York-based WKBW Buffalo dropped Nielsen in favor of Media Audit. Sunbeam Television in Miami leveled a lawsuit, claiming Nielsen's Local People Meters "produced defective, wildly inaccurate ratings data which-literally overnight-created havoc in [Miami]." Nielsen responded that it was not unusual for stations to cycle in and out of its services.

“Some of our prior research has helped us realize we have many more questions that need to be answered in order to improve diary sampling,” said Ceril Shagrin, executive vice president of Univision Communications, who serves as chair of the CRE as well as its Sample Quality Committee. “We need to learn whether expanded media-related equipment ownership can be obtained from diary samples, whether return-path data can improve diary measurement, and how much ‘TV program’ viewing is now done – and on what devices -- in what are currently defined as ‘non-TV homes.’

“By making comparisons of diary-based measurement to meter-based measurement and set-top-box information – and conducting specific follow-up studies with non-responding as well as non-TV homes – this effort should provide new insights into responders and non-responders of the address-based sampling diary service,” Shagrin added.

This newest study also marks the second major effort for the CRE’s Sample Quality Committee, formerly known as the Non-Response Bias Committee. Its 2009 study, “Measuring the Unmeasured Viewer,” was the most comprehensive of its kind to determine the impact of non-response on ratings -- revealing more about unmeasured viewers than any prior effort.

Data collected from the new study, conducted with the assistance of Research Triangle Incorporated, will be compared with Nielsen LPM, metered and diary market data in an effort to determine, among other details, the impact on response bias of weighting, adjusting return path or set-meter data, geographic and demographic variables, and ownership of a traditional TV set as well as a land-line phone or cellphone only. Findings from the study are expected to be made available by first quarter 2013.

To date, the CRE has completed several major studies, including the Video Consumer Mapping Study, conducted in 2008, involving in-person, computer-assisted observation of media consumption; a Set-Top Box Study, examining the state of set-top box-based audience research; the landmark Non-Response Bias Study, exploring the impact and correlates of non-response to Nielsen surveys; a study of Media-related Universe Estimates; an initial phase of a Study of User Experience on multiple video screens and formats; and a study of Digital publishers’ handling of user data.

Nielsen: Cable Matured, Matched Broadcast Ad Spend in 2012

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

Ad spending on cable is now “on par” with that allocated to broadcast TV reports AdAge, citing Nielsen data.
In 2011, ad spending on English-language cable-TV nets totaled about $21 billion, compared to ad spending on English-language broadcast nets at $21.1 billion.

U.S. TV ad spending was up 4.5% in 2011, according to the third and final part of Nielsen’s Advertising & Audiences Report. Nielsen observes that “American advertisers and consumers have a huge appetite for television,” and the TV ad spend reached $72 billion, more than all other ad platforms combined.

By these figures, 2011 marked the first time that cable has “achieved parity of a sort with its longtime rival,” as AdAge describes. Spending on cable TV has increased fully 42% since 2007.

Syndicated TV, surprisingly, is a bit down, from $2.6 billion in 2007 to $2.4 billion in 2011. But the numbers are likely to improve: syndication has yet to enjoy a full year of the “Big Bang Theory.”

AdAge speculates that the cable medium has simply matured: With dozens of channels of original programming (it took dozens of them to catch up to the Big 4), plus decently rated niche programming (think “Hoarders” and “Storage Wars”) with lower ad costs, cable represents a compelling value proposition for advertisers.

Nielsen Releases Primetime Trends By Ethic, Gender Demos, Second Screen Habits

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

Nielsen Company released some intriguing demographic data, from part 2 of its “State of the Media Spring 2012” report—this part presenting an in-depth look at usage by demographic (ethnicity, gender and age).

White TV viewers use their DVRs at twice as much as any other group on a daily basis for time-shifted viewing; yet Asians watch the most timeshifted content as a share of overall TV time.

Among the online destinations for streaming TV content, Hispanics are most likely to watch on Netflix (still no advertising opportunities), where Asians are most likely to watch on Hulu and black viewers on YouTube (both ad friendly).

Other findings:

  • Teens used a gaming console for an average of eight minutes during primetime, more than twice as much as the general TV population.
  • When watching TV and using their tablet computers simultaneously, male tablet users were more likely to look up information related to a TV program, and females were more likely to up look info related to a TV ad.
  • Females spend 61.2% of timeshifted viewing during primetime to watch dramas.
  • Females spend 46.9% of real-time viewing watching drama, versus 34.5% for men.
  • Females spend 13.5% of their time viewing sports, versus 32.7% for me. 
  • Online adults aged 25-54 are 23% more likely than the average U.S. Internet user to follow a brand via social networking and 29% more likely to purchase a product online that was featured on TV.

That eight-minute figure for teens and gaming seems low, frankly. Few games can be played in eight minutes. Presumably, that average is dragged down because teens who spend zero minutes on gaming outnumber those who spend hours at a time.

Research: Buyers See TV, Web Video As One, Want Unified Metrics

Published 2 years ago

Digiday has released the results of its “State of the Industry Survey,” sponsored by, which revealed that brands and agencies are planning their online video/ TV ad buys together (for example, in a unified campaign). Digiday conducts the semi-annual poll of the marketplace for online advertising (including agencies, brands, publishers, ad networks and intermediaries).

The majority told Digiday that the rate at which they will plan TV and online video ads together will grow by more than 50% in the coming year. Some 48 percent already plan the two media together, and 25% more plan to do so in the next 12 months.

What the majority will not do is shift their TV buys entirely to digital. Just about two thirds (at 62%) report that online video will complement TV advertising rather than replace it, in line with last year’s figures.

Whither the Measurements?

Interestingly, 54% expect their online video ad buys to be under 5% percent of their 2012 purchases—down 10% from the same time last year. The key roadblock is in unified measurements. Brands want click-throughs, certainly, but brand lift is still the most important metric cited by both agencies and brands—and they’re baffled by different metrics.

But, the online venues may have solved this problem, even as the survey was conducted. Just this week, Hulu and Google promised TV-like metrics to advertisers—specifically, gross rating points or GRPs. Google announced just yesterday that it has introduced “Active GRP” into its DoubleClick for Advertisers offering.

Research: Consumers Open to Social Media on TV Screens, But Want Rewards and Better TV

Published 2 years ago

“There is hardly a program or ad on TV these days that doesn’t ask its viewers to like its Facebook page or tweet about it,” opined Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch. But what do they get out of accepting that invitation? Therein lies the rub, found Accenture.

The industry analyst group surveyed 1,000 U.S. TV viewers, to find that nearly two-thirds (64%) recall seeing social media symbols such as Facebook "Likes" while watching television, and one third (33%) interacted with social media, after seeing a social media symbol on their TV screen.

This is good news for advertisers, believes Robin Murdoch, Accenture’s global Internet segment managing director. "This has huge revenue growth potential as social media applications build program viewer loyalty and drive online advertising opportunities."

That one third who interacted with the symbols while watching TV did so by "liking" the TV program on Facebook (20%), scanning a QR code (11%), searching for the Hashtag on Twitter (7%) or scanning the Shazam symbol (5%).

But what do viewers want out of it?
Obtaining more information about a show, product or service was the greatest motivator for interacting with a social media symbol while watching TV; cited by 43% of the participants who have done so. Other motivations included:

  • getting coupons and promotional codes (32%)
  • entering a contest/sweepstakes (31%)
  • watching another video (26%)
  • interacting about the show or product on social media (26%)
  • connecting with others with similar interests (21%)
  • sharing or recommending video/program to others (20%)
  • making a purchase (16%)

To put a pencil to it, of that 33% who interacts, 16% of them makes a purchase - so, just 4.8% of viewers, which is still a good figure. About 10% of viewers overall will go for coupons and promotional codes, or enter to win a contest, so the advertising/marketing/engagement possibilities are strong.

Surprisingly absent from the list is interacting with the show. They appear to enjoy interacting live with questions (e.g. through Twitter to interact with the “Walking Dead” and “Real Housewives” recap shows, voting on “American Idol”). But interaction does not drive viewers to watch lousy TV. The Ford Motor Company-funded unscripted show “Escape Routes” has tanked miserably on NBC on Saturday nights, with ratings shares as low as 0.3. “Escape Routes” is a broadcast/interactive mashup with six teams of two participating in a road-trip competition with real-world challenges, all while driving the new Ford Escape. Viewers can interact real-time with the teams through Google Hangouts, among other social methods; but so far, they haven’t.

Demographics play a role
As expected, the demographic of social-interactive viewers skews young. The majority of participants between the ages of 18 and 24 (63%) said they have interacted with social media symbols while watching TV. For older age groups, the numbers dropped to 46% among 25-34 year olds, 44% among 35-44 year olds, 19% among 45-54 year olds, 24% among 55-64 year olds and 11% of those 65 or older.

Both men and women participants who interacted with social media sites were most interested in getting more information about the show (39% and 48%, respectively). Women were also motivated by getting coupons or promotional codes (40%) and registering or signing up for something (34%). Males were more interested in interacting with social media to watch another video (35%) or entering a contest or sweepstakes (34%).

Expectations met
In terms of engagement, most viewers are just satisfied with what they get out of the social engagement. They are neither thrilled nor displeased. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of those who received content via social media symbols while watching TV (those coupons, recommended videos and so forth) said it just "met expectations," compared with 10% who said the content "did not meet expectations" and 15% who said it "exceeded expectations."

The survey also showed that the greatest barrier to adoption is lack of interest among consumers in the content available through social media interactions. When participants were asked why they had not interacted with social media while watching TV, 60% said they did not think they would be interested in the content they would receive. Fewer participants said they were not sure how to interact with social media symbols (23%); had not downloaded the necessary application for scanning social media symbols on their mobile devices (15%); or, did not have time to scan a social media symbol because it was not displayed long enough on the TV program (11%).

The survey pointed to dramas and comedies as the top genres where consumers would like additional information and interactivity. Asked what type of show they would be interested in interacting with, 35% of participants said dramas and comedies, compared to news programming (31%), sporting events (29%), reality shows (23%), lifestyle/cooking/home shows (20%), game shows (19%), talk shows (16%) and live non-sports events (15%).

"The challenge to providers unlocking this enormous growth is convincing viewers that interacting with TV programming is valuable to them," said Murdoch. "You do that by offering compelling content that enhances the viewing experience coupled with things that extend the value into other areas of their lives. In parallel, you might make social media easier for viewers to use by integrating these capabilities into your existing distribution infrastructure."


Ad Age Releases Pinpoint TV Demo Maps

Published 2 years ago

Ad Age is offering a “Peek at Which Shows Get the Most Love Around the Country,” on both broadcast and cable. Ad Age conducted research with Experian Simmons and

Patchwork to create two maps detailing top network and cable shows by county. The maps incorporate data gathered from 25,000 households in Q4 2011, and describe those counties with demographic-skewing labels such as "Evangelical Epicenters," "Emptying Nest," "Campus and Careers."

Young and more affluent urbanites are 34% more likely to watch “America’s Top Model”

  • “Empty-nest” communities of baby boomers are 20% more likely to watch “Mike & Molly” (with its older and overweight stars) than other groups
  • “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart is most popular around campuses
  • Nearly the entire Mormon population of Utah enjoys "Chuck"

Ad Age partnered with Patchwork Nation to “layer a ton of data through what is a demographic-segmentation tool with geo-targeting built in.” The value proposition is that the segments are more granular, as ratings tend to drill down to more inclusive, contiguous regions. These shows, therefore, can represent a cost-conscious way to target certain demographics. Whatever the show, be it “Daily Show” or “Bobby Jones Gospel,” Ad Age believes that these pinpoint demographics offer a “cost conscious way” for advertisers to target their key demos.

Research: Consumer Media Will Be Strong in 2012, Outpacing GDP

Published 2 years ago

According to at least one source, 2012 is looking pretty rosy for consumer media: this despite gloomy news from Kantar Media and the Publishers Information Bureau.

Driven by a somewhat improved economy, and stronger-than-expected results across digital media, total U.S. communications industry spending increased 4.2% in 2011 and is on pace to grow at an accelerated 5.6% in 2012, to reach $1.185 trillion. That will outpace gross domestic product growth (GDP) by 4.4%, according to Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS), a private equity firm serving the communications, media, information, education, and business services industries in North America and Europe.

VSS in its VSS Forecast Mid-Term Update projects that several industry segments are projected to outperform GDP growth of 4.4% in 2012, including Pure-Play Consumer Internet & Mobile Services (18.1%), Public Relations & Word-of-Mouth Marketing (14.6%), Broadcast Television (9.3%), Subscription Television (7.7%), and Branded Entertainment (7.5%).

“While the VSS Forecast Mid-Term Update clearly shows the strong growth momentum of digital media in such segments as Pure-Play Consumer Internet & Mobile Services, and Branded Entertainment, it also highlights the impact of a strengthening economy,” said John Suhler, Co-Founder and President of VSS. “What’s resulted is an increase in spending within the U.S. Communications Industry as both consumers and businesses begin to expand their use of a variety of communications platforms and tools such as mobile devices and tablets. Bottom line: This is the best news for the industry in several years.”

Industry Sectors with the Biggest Gains
While growth estimates for five of six Industry Sectors – defined as groups of industry segments sharing characteristics based on primary revenue streams – outpaced expectations for 2011 and 2012, Sectors with the most dramatic changes included Targeted Media and Traditional Marketing.

Spending on Targeted Media in 2012, which includes direct marketing, branded entertainment, outsourced custom content, pure-play consumer internet & mobile services, and business-to-business (B-to-B) media, has been revised upward from the original 7.7% growth projection in the annual VSS Forecast to 8.1% in the VSS Forecast Mid-Term Update. The upward revision was driven by strong performances in all segments except branded entertainment and outsourced custom publishing. VSS adjusted the 2010-2015 CAGR from 7.9% to 8.4%, reaching $278.4 billion to reflect expectations of stronger growth for most digital components within the sector, including e-custom publications, e-media in B-to-B media, and the entire pure-play consumer internet & mobile services segment.

Traditional Marketing, which includes consumer promotions, B-to-B promotions, public relations and word-of-mouth marketing, has been revised upward from 3.1% to 3.8% in 2012, as businesses are expected to continue to increase spending for all three segments, especially B-to-B promotions. VSS raised the 2010-2015 CAGR for Traditional Marketing from 3.6% to 4.2% to reflect anticipated acceleration in spending on Traditional Marketing during the latter part of the forecast period, reaching $86.6 billion.

Entertainment & Leisure Media, which includes subscription television, entertainment media (TV programming, home video, videogames, recorded music, box office) and consumer book publishing, is the only industry sector to be downgraded in the VSS Forecast Mid-Term Update for 2012. VSS found that while there will be gains in box office and branded digital platforms, such as online and mobile videogames, it will not be enough to help offset prolonged weak results in the printed book market. As a result, the growth rate of 5.8% forecast for the sector in 2012 was trimmed to 5.7%. The 2010-2015 CAGR was also cut from 5.6% to a 5.5%, reaching $353.9 billion, as strong growth in videogames, driven by the release of new console hardware during the forecast period and a faster-than-expected stabilization in the recorded music industry, will help mitigate the projected deeper declines in print consumer books.

VSS did not change the projected 2.6% growth rate for 2012 spending on Traditional Consumer Advertising Media, which includes broadcast television, newspaper publishing, consumer magazine publishing, broadcast & satellite radio, local consumer directories, and out-of-home media. While the ad market in the first half of 2012 is expected to remain sluggish, record-breaking political and Olympics advertising will drive growth for the remainder of the year. The 2010-2015 CAGR was also left untouched at 1.9%, with spending reaching $160.4 billion because although the projected decline in print advertising will be deeper than initially expected, it will be offset by increases in internet and mobile advertising offerings of branded traditional media.

Print: General Interest Consumer Mags Bled Ad Pages in Q1, Niche Pubs Fared Better

Published 2 years ago

Q1 2012 was “disappointing” for the magazine industry, as Folio describes it; and “lackluster” by Ad Age—depending on the title. Some niche publications like Architectural Digest, Boating and Latina are jumping for joy, as are Traditional Home and Dash.

According to the latest Publishers’ Information Bureau stats, ad pages among computer magazines were down 8.2% in Q1 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, for a decline from 36,868 pages to 33,828.

Generalized women's titles overall suffered January through March, with declines at Better Homes & Gardens, Essence, O! The Oprah Magazine and Ladies’ Home Journal among others. The beauty- and fashion-conscious Marie Claire defied the trend, with a 10% gain, and women’s luxury title W gained 16.6%.

Meredith’s Executive Vice President and President of Media Sales Dick Porter told Ad Age that advertisers are targeting their audiences. “If they’re doing broad, TV is doing that role.” Meredith titles include Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, and EatingWell. That title dropped 11.2% YoY in ad pages, despite its popularity. Effective with the September/October 2012 issue, EatingWell magazine will raise its rate base from 500,000 to 600,000, an increase of 70 percent from this time last year. In January 2012, Meredith raised the magazine's rate base from 350,000 to 500,000.

Generalized news magazines saw some extreme highs and lows. TIME dropped nearly 21% to 227 ad pages, and The Week plummeted 31.5%; while Newsweek bucked the trend with gains of 27.5%.

Spanish-language titles are strongly on the uptick. People En Espanol gained 16.2%, Ser Padres (the Spanish-language version of Parents, another Meredith title) 24.6%, and Siempre Mujer 26.2%.

Highs and Lows by Category

As Min Online details, only two categories (toiletries and cosmetics; apparel and accessories) saw increased ad pages in Q1, while automotive took a pounding with a 35.8% decrease.
Still, home and lifestyle titles overall had some strong gains.

Fine Cooking was up 76.9% to just over 15 ad pages; Veranda leapt 64.1%; and new-ish food title Dash was up 52.2%.