MediaPost MediaDailyNews

Madison Avenue tends to worry about the impact of remote controls and DVRs, but one of the biggest factors deterring TV viewers from watching their commercials is, well, other people. That’s the finding of a first-of-its-kind study observing how people divide their attention while watching prime-time TV.

The study, dubbed “Remotely Interested,” which was unveiled recently during MEDIA magazine’s Forecast ’07 conference in New York, found that the biggest single factor detracting viewers’ attention from TV commercials is “people talking to other people.” According to the findings, people are talking 21.9 percent of the time they are watching TV commercials, making it the single biggest form of “attention-shifting” from TV commercials.

The second-biggest detractor is “paying attention to other media,” which the study found happens 18.3 percent of the time commercials are being aired. The other biggest factors included: Changing channels (6.7 percent of the time), muting the TV volume (4.3 percent), using electronic programming guides (4.1 percent), and leaving the room (2.5 percent).

The research does not reveal how these phenomena impact the attention to TV commercials–or whether some, like talking, may even enhance it–they simply observed and recorded the phenomena.

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