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MediaPostBlogs TV Boardhttp://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=70256

by Joe Mandese

Typically, we discuss the future of television on these pages. Today, I’d like to recognize an important part of its past. Or, I should say, a part of its passing. The death notice came quietly the other day, and it took the form of a Nielsen communiqué that nonchalantly informed clients it would cease collecting and reporting data on television remote controls at the end of this year.The news elicited no banner headlines in the industry trade press, or front page stories in The New York Times. It logged nary a blog. For all intent and purposes it was a non-story, and no big event. In fact, Nielsen said it was discontinuing its tracking of remote controls because they had approached ubiquity and the data has essentially become irrelevant. Read the rest of this entry »

MEDIAWEEKhttp://www.mediaweek.com/mw/current/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003380936

By Erwin Ephron

Research makes for bad conversation. It’s too fussy for casual talk and can leave the wrong impression. Have you been following the countless discussions on TV commercial ratings?

Since the people meter was introduced in 1987, TV ratings have been based on viewing during the average minute of a program. But advertisers also want to know how many people watch their messages. This has led Nielsen Media Research to propose commercial-minute ratings, which has led to lots of industry discussion. What is it all about? Read the rest of this entry »

Ephron on  Mediahttp://www.ephrononmedia.com/article_archive/articleViewer.asp?origin=AR&articleID=156&categoryID=24&categoryName=Research+

By Erwin Ephron

Research makes for bad conversation. It’s too fussy for casual talk and can leave the wrong impression. Have you been following the countless discussions on TV Commercial Ratings?

Since the peoplemeter was introduced in 1987, TV ratings have been based on viewing during the average minute of a program. But advertisers also want to know how many people watch their messages. This has led Nielsen to propose commercial minute ratings and that has led to lots of industry discussion. What is it all about?

The New York Times thinks Nielsen is going to report how many people see commercials (“A Question of Eyeballs”, October 18, 2006), but that’s wrong. Nielsen can’t tell us how many people see commercials. They can only track whether people change channels or turn the set off or leave the room.

If Nielsen can’t measure how many people see commercials, what can they measure?

Nielsen records the tuning behavior of panel members who register themselves as “watching TV” by signing-in to the set meter. This usually happens when they first enter the room or turn the set on. After that they are periodically, but not frequently asked to confirm they are viewing. But that query is not timed to coincide with commercials so the viewing state of the Nielsen sample when commercials appear is uncertain. The question “did you see that commercial?” never comes up in any form.

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MediaPost MediaDailyNewshttp://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=49703

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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Sundoghttp://www.sundog.net/index.php/sunblog/entry/new-ball-state-study-highlights-television-advertising-challenges/

by Greg Ness

Ball State’s Center for Media Design (CMD) released the results of a study last week that demonstrated the challenges of getting television advertising in front of viewers. The study sought to understand consumer behavior while viewing television and being presented with an advertising break in the programming. A summary of the results includes:

– The average ad break was 2.2 minutes
– Almost one-third of viewers watched the entire ad break
– Half the ad breaks were watched for one minute or less
– About 45 percent of ad breaks found viewers engaging in other attention-stealing activities: channel changes, cell phones, reading magazines, talking, leaving the room, etc.

It is important to note that these figures were compiled during prime time viewing, and it would be reasonable to assume that there is less engagement in non-prime segments.

This summer, the CMD also released a free white paper that challenged the way most traditional media is measured—including television. The CMD maintains we have gone from a media-centric metrics approach (measuring media output) to more of a consumer-metrics approach (measuring behavioral changes or actions). The report did not challenge the effectiveness of traditional media, it merely suggested the past ways of measuring media weight in a campaign may be subject to a great deal of error in today’s more complex media environment. In other words, caveat emptor.

Advertising Labhttp://adverlab.blogspot.com/2006/10/data-good-news-some-people-do-watch.html

Ball State Uni’s Center for Media Design just announced a new installment of results from their media consumption study. This part deals with TV ad avoidance. Some snippets:

” – About one third (32.7%) of all ad pods were watched in their entirety.

– Over one half of all ad pods (57.9%) were interrupted by advertising-related scene shifting or attention shifts.

– Nearly half of the ad breaks were watched for one minute or less, as 15.4 percent of commercial blocks were viewed for 31 to 60 seconds before interruption; 12.1 percent lasted 16 to 30 seconds; 11.8 percent were between 6-10 seconds; and 9.1 percent lasted 5 seconds or less.”
— via lost remote

PVRWIREhttp://sitecorecms.bsu.edu/?sc_mode=edit&sc_itemid=%7b58179E25-E29B-4773-96ED-7126D8B35B70%7d&sc_lang=en

So it turns out all the sky is falling talk about how PVR technology makes it easy for consumers to ignore commercials might be beside the point. People just don’t want to watch commercials, and just because they’re not skipping through them doesn’t mean they’re paying attention.

Researchers at Ball State University’s Center for Media Design report that about viewers interrupt about 45 percent of commercial breaks by changing channels, checking out the electronic program guide, or just getting up and walking out of the room.

Viewers in the study did watch about a third of television commercial breaks completely from start to finish. But with nearly half of the ad breaks were watched for 60 seconds or less. Apparently flipping channels is a favorite way to avoid commercials — about half of those who weren’t paying attention to a commercial break had switched to another channel, while less than 20 percent actually bothered to get up from the couch and go anywhere.

AD Job http://www.adjab.com/2006/09/29/old-fashioned-commercial-skipping/

by Chris Thilk

Here’s a newsflash, in the form of a research study, for advertisers: You have a problem with people skipping TV commercials that’s entirely divorced from the DVRs you fear so much. Lost Remote passes on the findings of a study conducted by Ball state’s Center for Media Design that shows 45 percent of commercial breaks are avoided either by channel changing, checking out the program guide or – and this one’s the real shocker – leaving the room. People are also talking to others in the room or engaging themselves with another medium such as flipping through a magazine when the commercials are on. Just over 30 percent of the ad breaks measured were watched in their entirety and almost half were watched for a minute or less. Since so many of the “scene shifts,” as the study calls them occur in the first minute of the commercial break that puts a heavy amount of pressure on the first ad in the break. Basically that one needs – absolutely needs – to hold the attention of the viewer for the rest of the spots to even stand a chance.

So here’s a thought for you: Stop worrying about ways to foil DVR usage or count a “commercial minute” and start creating some truly engaging ads. I don’t mean ads that show a bear getting hit in the groin by a hammer-wielding Burt Reynolds. I mean ads that are going to compel me to not only buy the product advertised but watch the ad in the first place. I know this might seem odd to some of you but I think it’s worth a shot.

Lost Remote – http://www.lostremote.com/2006/09/27/what-happens-during-commercial-breaks/

by Cory Bergman

Ball State’s Center for Media Design conducted a study to find out what really happens when viewers are confronted with a commecial break. About 45 percent of the breaks were interrupted by either channel changes, program guide surfing or leaving the room. Call it old-fashioned commercial skipping. Study follows…

PRESS RELEASE — MUNCIE, Ind. – The good news for the advertising industry is that nearly a third of television commercial breaks are watched from start to finish during prime time, but the bad news is half are watched for 60 seconds or less, says a new study by Ball State University.

The results are from “Remotely Interested: Exploring TV Viewers Advertising-Related Behaviors,” a behavioral study that was unveiled Sept. 27 by Ball State’s Center for Media Design (CMD) research staff in New York at the Forecast 2007 Conference: Media on Internet Speed.

“The debate to define a commercial minute is currently a major point of discussion for advertisers, media owners and agencies,” said Mike Bloxham, CMD’s director of insight and research. “This study has enabled us to provide insights to what really happens during an average person’s prime-time viewing such as the percentage of commercial breaks we observed where attention was compromised through channel-changing, using another medium like a magazine, talking to someone else in the room or leaving the room altogether.

“Watching television is not as simple as it seems at face value,” he said. “There are a number of choices that viewers can make that compound the complexity of ‘watching television.’ If advertisers and media owners want to keep up with these changes, they need to understand complex human behavior, which will only become more complex as we have more options available to us on screen.”

CMD researchers shadowed 49 Muncie and Indianapolis area residents in their homes as they watched three to four hours of prime-time television. The average observation was 3.7 hours, resulting in 179.2 observed viewing hours.

Researchers gathered data via touch-screen devices that allowed observers to record, in five-second increments, changes in channel, television content types, use of the electronic programming guide (EPG) and other behaviors.

The study found:

The average ad break exposure was 2.2 minutes with 32.7 percent of the study’s ad breaks watched in their entirety

Nearly half of the ad breaks were watched for one minute or less with 15.4 percent of commercial blocks viewed for 31 to 60 seconds before interruption; 12.1 percent lasted 16 to 30 seconds; 11.8 percent were between 6 to 10 seconds; and 9.1 percent lasted 5 seconds or less

About 45 percent of advertising breaks were interrupted by scene-shifting behaviors, including channel changes (50.5 percent of scene shifts), EPG use (31 percent) and leaving the room (18.5 percent).

“Obviously it’s good news for advertisers that nearly a third of the observed ad breaks were watched from start to finish,” he said. “On the other hand, it is not so good where viewers are only watching part of a commercial break. If their attention has been lost in less than a minute, advertisers need that much more airtime to reach the kind of numbers they want often enough to stand a chance of getting their message through.”

More information about the study and other CMD research is available at http://www.bsu.edu/cmd/insightresearch.

Inside INdiana Businesshttp://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=19829

The good news for advertisers-nearly a third of television commercial breaks are watched from start to finish during prime time. The bad news – half are watched for 60 seconds or less.

Press Release

MUNCIE, Ind. – The good news for the advertising industry is that nearly a third of television commercial breaks are watched from start to finish during prime time, but the bad news is half are watched for 60 seconds or less, says a new study by Ball State University.

The results are from “Remotely Interested: Exploring TV Viewers Advertising-Related Behaviors,” a behavioral study that was unveiled Sept. 27 by Ball State’s Center for Media Design (CMD) research staff in New York at the Forecast 2007 Conference: Media on Internet Speed.

“The debate to define a commercial minute is currently a major point of discussion for advertisers, media owners and agencies,” said Mike Bloxham, CMD’s director of insight and research. “This study has enabled us to provide insights to what really happens during an average person’s prime-time viewing such as the percentage of commercial breaks we observed where attention was compromised through channel-changing, using another medium like a magazine, talking to someone else in the room or leaving the room altogether.

“Watching television is not as simple as it seems at face value,” he said. “There are a number of choices that viewers can make that compound the complexity of ‘watching television.’ If advertisers and media owners want to keep up with these changes, they need to understand complex human behavior, which will only become more complex as we have more options available to us on screen.”

CMD researchers shadowed 49 Muncie and Indianapolis area residents in their homes as they watched three to four hours of prime-time television. The average observation was 3.7 hours, resulting in 179.2 observed viewing hours.

Researchers gathered data via touch-screen devices that allowed observers to record, in five-second increments, changes in channel, television content types, use of the electronic programming guide (EPG) and other behaviors.

The study found:

-The average ad break exposure was 2.2 minutes with 32.7 percent of the study’s ad breaks watched in their entirety
-Nearly half of the ad breaks were watched for one minute or less with 15.4 percent of commercial blocks viewed for 31 to 60 seconds before interruption; 12.1 percent lasted 16 to 30 seconds; 11.8 percent were between 6 to 10 seconds; and 9.1 percent lasted 5 seconds or less
-About 45 percent of advertising breaks were interrupted by scene-shifting behaviors, including channel changes (50.5 percent of scene shifts), EPG use (31 percent) and leaving the room (18.5 percent)

Inside Indiana Business

“Obviously it’s good news for advertisers that nearly a third of the observed ad breaks were watched from start to finish,” he said. “On the other hand, it is not so good where viewers are only watching part of a commercial break. If their attention has been lost in less than a minute, advertisers need that much more airtime to reach the kind of numbers they want often enough to stand a chance of getting their message through.”

More information about the study and other CMD research is available at http://www.bsu.edu/cmd/insightresearch.

Source: Ball State University

Who Are We

Insight and Research at the Center for Media Design (CMD) has begun to receive quite a bit of attention from industry publications and mainstream media outlets in the last several years as a groundbreaking and reputable media research organization. This archive is only for educational purpose, if the content involved any copyright issue, please contact: Michelle Prieb: meprieb@bsu.edu
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