by Robert Bain

US– Ball State University and media metrics consultancy Sequent Partners have formed a research institute that will launch a version of the Touchpoints media and lifestyle survey in the US.

Mike Bloxham of Ball State University announced the formation of the Media Behavior Institute (MBI) at the ARF’s audience measurement conference in New York yesterday (25 June).

One of its first projects will be to introduce a US version of Touchpoints, under an agreement with the UK’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, which recently completed its second Touchpoints survey.

The UK studies were based on a hub survey which tracked the media usage and activities of hundreds of adults over seven days. That data was then integrated with the various media currencies to create a multimedia planning database.

MBI’s hub data will come from observational studies carried out by Ball State University, building on its previous work in this area – including a $3.5m survey of video consumption launched in February, also in conjunction with Sequent Partners.

Bloxham told Research: “The observational method has been better than any other method at investigating cross-media behaviour. It’s extremely granular.”

However, he said the fact that US media currencies are in the hands of private companies rather than joint industry bodies would make it harder to build a planning database similar to the one in the UK, so results of the observational work may be complemented with other data sets.

More announcements on the project will be made in the next six months, he said, including details of industry partners.