iDMAa Blog

by Ryan Carney

The Video Consumer Mapping study.  I’ve seen the results from this study many times, and I always love it.

Presenting data to a group of people that are interested in arts, creativity, and narrative.  But, Bloxham, says, this really is about people.

The original VCM study in 2003 made it into the first iDMAa journal in 2004.  How quaint.

And Dr. Holmes killed the microphone.

Dr. Holmes realizes there’s a gap between the data and the creativity.  But the designers at iDMAa are designing and creating for these people being studied.  This research gives you a glimpse into the media world of people and consumers.

1969 – media environment is very simple and limited

2009 – 40 years later; many more platforms; blurred borders

The one thing that hasn’t changed is the length of the day: 24 hours.  Makes it harder and harder to find out what the media consumer is doing.  Multi-platform, multi-place challenge.

The Video Consumer Mapping Study (VCM) helps to tackle this challenge.  Nielsen has funded the Council for Research Excellence (CRE).  They wanted a snapshot of the current media world to give them a sense of what is going on.

What did the VCM do?  Examined participants for a full waking day across 6 cities in the US, following them all day and observing; so cross-platfrom, cross-location.  Data measured every 10 seconds.  An observer stays in the background with a small hand-held palm pilot-like device which tracks the life activity, location, and media consumed (15 major platforms) all day long.

Expensive, time-consuming, labor intensive research.  Allows you to create a graph of participants’ entire day that incorprates all of this information.

Now Mike Bloxham coming back to give the analysis (Dr. Holmes gives the boring data, Bloxham gets the fun part… or at least, that’s how Mike and Michael characterize it).

Analysis divides media use by screen type:

1st screen – TV which includes DVD, video games, etc.
2nd – computer
3rd – mobile devices
4th – everything else
This is undoubtedly the largest media research study in the US, perhaps the world.

Common notion is that TV is dead, 30-second commercials are dead, everyone watches video online, and it’s all related to age.  VCM debunks pretty much all of this.

Average time spent watching TV is 309 minutes across all demographics.  65+ have greatest numbers (421 min). 18-24 has least (which is still 210 min).  DVR use is fairly uniform and low across age demos.  DVD/VCR avgs to 23 min across demos (much higher than avg. of 15 min for DVR) – when will DVD advertising take off?  First screen totals 353 minutes per day across age demos.

Web averages to 49 min.  35-44 year olds have the highest use (remember they follow people to work).  Email is also higher among 35-44 and 45-54 y.o.  IM even among 18-24, 35-44, and 45-54 y.o.  Software avgs to 46 min across age demos; much of the use comes from being at work.  Computer video averages to 2 minutes across all demos.  2 minutes.  Flies in the face of conventional wisdom, doesn’t it?  Second screen averages to 143 minutes.  At this point, total media usage is highest among 45-54 y.o.

Third screen (mobile content) averages to 20 minutes across age demos (includes mobile talk, as well).  One of the major findings in this project was that people grossly over-report media usage (more on this later).

Fourth screen (everything else) averages to 8 minutes across age demos.  Most age demos spend 8.5 total hours per day consuming media.  Except 45-54 y.o. that use media for 9.5 hours per day.

Concurrent media exposure (CME) – exposed to multiple media at the same time; when accounting for CME, total media usage time drops by nearly 30% for some age demos.

When looking at media that people spend 10 minutes or more, 65+ have 5 media, 18-24 have 10.

When compared against Nielsen’s 3-screen report, VCM came out nearly identical.

When discussing reach and duration of media use…  Gives a great scatter-plot graph that groups most media to the left, spread between top and bottom; with TV to the extreme right, top corner.

TV users were exposed to roughly an hour a day of live TV ads and promos.  This is the first time an objective study found out (with precise granularity) how much [TV] advertising people are exposed to daily.

Self-reporting.  Most people are grossly wrong of their estimates of how much media they consume.  Some forgot usage of media entirely.  Some give wildly inaccurate periods of use (one man thought he used his iPhone for 2 hours/day and it turned out to be about 25 minutes).  And the amount that is over/under reported is completely random.  There’s no generalization or correlation that can really be made about what is recorded and what is self-reported.

For tons more information on this study, check out this website.  They’ve got presentations, reports, and even raw data.  Lots to look at.

Final thoughts… Again, I’ve heard this presentation (or at least iterations of it) many times, and the data and findings are always fascinating. I think many of the people here in this room watching the presentation are also fairly blown away by all of this.