Radio Business Report

imageA groundbreaking study from the Council for Research Excellence (CRE), with funding by The Nielsen Company, finds that younger baby boomers, not the truly young demos, are the heaviest consumers of media. Live TV viewing is still the “800 pound gorilla” for all demos, even among the young who tend to consume more types of media. So, there were several media myths dispelled by the Video Consumer Mapping Study released on Thursday.

One of the big surprises, according to researcher Mike Bloxham of Ball State University, was that the total screen time spent daily was strikingly similar across all of the age groups. That was about eight and a half hours for all groups except 45-54 – the younger baby boomers now being called “digital boomers” – where their total was nine and a half hours. That’s because they watch as much TV as older boomers, but also use computers and cell phones as much as the 35-44 age group immediately behind them. Ball State and Sequent Partners were selected by CRE to conduct the research project.

“This landmark research study makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how consumers go about accessing content across all platforms within the context of their daily lives,” said CRE Media Consumption and Engagement Committee Chair Shari Anne Brill, of Carat.  “It also considerably advances the Council’s thinking regarding audience measurement priorities.  Nothing of this magnitude has ever been attempted before and we expect that our entire industry will benefit from this game-changing work for years to come,” she said.

One piece of particularly good news for people in the television business – and the advertising business, for that matter – is that TV users are exposed to about one hour daily of live TV ads and promos. So, DVRs haven’t wiped out commercial exposure.

The study also found that people tend to over-report their use of nifty new media devices like iPhones when asked to self-report. How do they know that? The study used observers to follow participants around and report continuously on their actual media usage throughout the day. Follow-up calls the next day asked the participants for their take on their media usage.

Observers followed 376 people in Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Dallas for two days – one in the Spring and one in the Fall – last year to record their media usage. An additional study of 100 people in Indianapolis studied how their media usage changed when they were given the opportunity to add additional devices – HDTV receivers were particularly popular – at greatly reduced prices.

This study produced a massive amount of interesting data. Click here to see much more on the CRE website.

This chart gives you an indication of just how similar total video usage was across all demos.