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The director of Insight and Research at Ball State University’s Center for Media Design will give a presentation and speak on a panel at a Federal Trade Commission event in Washington D.C. today. Mike Bloxham will take part in the event titled “How Will Journalism Survive The Internet Age? Other speakers schheduled for the event are Rupert Murdoch and Arianna Huffington.

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MUNCIE, Ind. – Ball State University has been commissioned by the Council for Research Excellence (CRE), an independent forum of media industry research experts created by The Nielsen Co., to conduct a potentially groundbreaking study in 2008, examining how individuals across the country consume traditional and emerging video platforms inside and outside of the home. Read the rest of this entry »

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MUNCIE, Ind. – Researchers from Ball State University’s Center for Media Design (CMD) will work closely with top partners in the communications industry as a result of a new facility being opened in the heart of New York.

CMD and Schematic, a full-service digital agency, have opened a Media Insight Center (MIC), a research and development facility for eye-tracking and usability, in the company’s New York offices. The grand opening is Oct. 30.

The new facility allows Ball State to have a presence in New York, considered to be the nation’s hub for a variety of communications and media industries, including television networks and advertising agencies, said Mike Bloxham, director of the CMD’s Insight and Research.

“We are responding to demand from industry partners who want our expertise,” he said. “Not only will our partners have access to research we are doing in Indianapolis and Muncie, which is commonly referred to as ‘Middletown, USA,’ but we can add additional data to the mix by accessing people from the New York market.”

Bloxham said the New York research office will also provide students with immersive learning opportunities in the coming years through a variety of research partnerships.

CMD is part of the $20 million Digital Exchange initiative funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. to enhance the university’s innovative, immersive and educational experiences for students in digital technology.

At the Schematic-based center, researchers will use continually evolving and innovative eye-tracking and usability research methods for interfaces, devices and content across platforms. The center is among the few facilities in the country equipped to conduct eye-tracking research in the computer, television and mobile settings.

“Much of the research we’ve done in the past has relied almost completely on qualitative data gleaned from interviews with users,” said Dale Herigstad, Schematic’s chief creative officer who also is a CMD Industry Fellow. Over the last several years, he has worked with Ball State students and faculty on a variety of immersive learning projects, including the groundbreaking broadcast of interactive television.

“This center allows us to collect quantitative data on how users interact with an interface or product,” he said. “We are fortunate to have an in-house testing facility that will allow us to factor this information directly into the design process.”

With the accelerating proliferation of media devices, capabilities and content formats, there is a parallel acceleration in the need for cross-platform usability research that takes these new developments into account, Bloxham said.

“Working closely with Schematic allows us to integrate research and design processes more closely, yielding improved products that have benefited from user feedback at different stages of development,” he said.

The recently opened facility in New York, which features a family room and home office, is the third in a network of custom-designed naturalistic environments for desktop and television-based eye-tracking and usability research. Ball State’s facility is a full-house setting, including family room, dining area, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, gym and office. A facility at the Ball State Indianapolis Center includes a family room and home office.

“User testing is an integral part of our process, and we’re excited to be able to offer this next-generation testing capability to Schematic’s clients,” said Schematic chief executive officer Trevor Kaufman. “Our partnership with Ball State brings tremendous credibility and research expertise to this venture, and we’re looking forward to cooperating with them on commercializing more research technologies in the future.”

About Schematic

Schematic, a WPP Digital company, deploys and develops solutions for the Web, mobile devices, television, digital environments and emerging platforms. Schematic offers complete strategic, creative, marketing and technology services to major corporations, including Disney, Target, Nokia, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Condé Nast and Turner. For more information, please visit

Inside iNDIANA Business

Ball State Information on iTV Project

Ball State is educating the first wave of graphic designers to work in the interactive news industry, where the viewer — not a news producer, reporter or anchor — is in control.

Instead of a news story being told in linear fashion with an anchor introducing a subject followed by a reporter in the field giving a 90-second explanation, interactive television will allow the viewer to examine a story in depth by using a remote control to click on a graphic element that leads to additional information.

Interactive Television News Graphics allows students to create graphic interface systems that put viewers in control of information, said Tim Pollard, a telecommunications professor, who teaches the class with Jennifer Palilonis, a journalism instructor, and Vinayak Tanksale, a computer science instructor.

“Interactive television offers increased control over programming content by enabling the viewer to immediately respond to programming and alter it,” Pollard said. “By offering such control, interactive television has the potential to redefine television. It is coming very soon and will transform how we watch television forever.”

According to Pollard, students are learning how to think differently about how television news graphics can create a richer experience for the viewer and to look at broadcasting as a two-way experience during which the viewer controls the content and the experience.

Students also are learning to create graphic elements that will work on a variety of platforms in addition to television, including cell phones, personal digital assistants and iPods, said Palilonis.

“This course is also a very cutting-edge exercise in convergence, as we explore how a variety of rich media can come together in a broadcast format and allow a viewer to actually interact with the content,” she said. “The communications students in the course are majors in broadcast news, broadcast production, journalism information graphics reporting and print design. All of these students have had to explore how to apply their knowledge of their specific areas of expertise to an entirely new mode of information gathering and presentation.

“There are certainly many professional outlets exploring these concepts, but we are the first student group in the world to explore iTV design in a classroom setting,” Palilonis said.

The class is a collaborative effort by Ball State’s College of Information, Media, and Communication and the College of Science and Humanities.

Pollard said many of the key technical issues were successfully solved by Tanksale and five computer science majors enrolled in the class.

“Without their help, the class would not have worked,” he said. “They were crucial in programming an application to the Windows Media Center platform.”

Assisting in the development of the class and teaching it both online and in person this semester are three leading interactive media veterans serving as Industry Research Fellows during 2005-06 for Ball State’s Center for Media Design (CMD), Ball State’s research and development facility that focuses on the creation, testing and practical application of digital technologies for business, classroom, home and community.

Coming to campus on a regular basis are Dale Herigstad, executive creative director for Schematic, a company that designs and develops interface and technology solutions; John Herne, head of studio and media consulting for Sonalysts Inc. and formerly director of new media for the Discovery Networks; and John Canning, a senior product manager and field producer for the Yahoo! Media Group and formerly a technical evangelist in Microsoft’s eHome Division.

CMD researchers will study how people use interactive television by putting the students’ work on the air as part of a special in-house broadcast of NewsLink Indiana, the university’s converged news program. The CMD has selected a group of television viewers to watch the program, broadcast only to campus locations, April 1 with assistance from staff in Ball State’s Department of Computer Science, Office of Information Technology, CMD and Teleplex, which provides state-of-the-art media-related services to Ball State faculty, staff and departments.

Source: Ball State University

Inside Indiana Business

MUNCIE, Ind.— A national media communications company is seeking the opinions of several Ball State University students on how media technologies are impacting their lives.

Starting in January, students from various areas of study will regularly write blogs for MediaPost, a New York-based integrated publishing and content company, providing insights on how they interact with media technologies on a daily basis.

“This is important from MediaPost’s point of view because we think it will give our readers — mainly advertising execs and media planners and buyers — a practical view about how new media technologies are impacting college students, who are their next most important consumer segment,” said Joe Mandese, MediaPost’s editor in chief. “It is an opportunity to hear it not from some prepackaged consumer research, but straight from the horses’ mouths.” Read the rest of this entry »

Inside INdiana Business

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)

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“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

Source: Ball State University

Insdie INdiana business

Michelle Prieb, Lead Researcher, talks about a new behavioral study that explores what really takes place during an average person’s prime time TV hours.

The video and audio excerpts are licensed for private, non-commercial use only. Any other use is strictly prohibited without the expressed, written permission of Grow Indiana Media Ventures, LLC. Duplication in whole or part of the video or audio contained within is strictly prohibited. All other rights reserved.

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The study looked at computer usage throughout the day in the workplace and at home.

The study shows that computer use begins in large numbers at the start of the work day at 8 a.m., dips during the lunch hour and increases from 1 to 5 p.m. Working adults ages 25 to 64 used computers the most.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Press Release

MUNCIE, Ind. — The average American spends more time in front of the computer than any other electronic media with the exception of television, and the computer has become a focal point in most workplaces, says a new report from Ball State University.

“The Computer: A Medium for All Reasons,” the latest report from the Center for Media Design (CMD), explores computer-based media usage throughout the day in the workplace and at home.

Not surprisingly, the report finds people tend to use computers most during traditional work hours, said Robert Papper, a telecommunications professor and member of CMD’s research team.

“Computer use begins in large numbers at the beginning of the work day at 8 a.m., dips during the lunch hour and comes back up from 1 to 5 p.m.,” he said. “It then trails off dramatically as people go home to watch television.”

The study also found computer use is higher during the typical Monday through Friday work week rather than weekends.

“While well over half of all media use is in the home, more than two-thirds of all computer use is at work,” Papper said. “As in real estate, location is almost everything in media use. The television dominates at home, radio dominates the car and the computer dominates the workplace. Every category of computer use was higher at work than at home.”

The research in the computer usage report is based on analysis of data collected for the Middletown Media Studies 2 project, in which observers shadowed 350 people from Muncie and Indianapolis for an entire day, recording their media use and life activities, including work, child care and meal preparation.

Other key findings of the report:

· Computer users spent 55.9 percent of time online as compared to 44.1 percent of their time using software. While online, 54.8 percent used Internet browsers while 37.7 percent accessed e-mail programs and 7.6 percent used instant messaging.

· People use the Web for primarily information browsing and searching.

· Participants with dial-up connections at home accessed the Internet more often and spent slightly more time online at home than users with broadband access.

· Working adults ages 25 to 64 had higher rates of computer usage than young people between the ages of 18 to 24. People older than 65 had the lowest rates of computer use.

· About 40 percent of young adults (ages 18-24) did not use a computer during the observed day, preferring to log on late at night.

· There were no significant gender differences in computer use. Men averaged 137.3 minutes per day, and women spent an average of 134.2 minutes per day on the computer.

· Participants with a high school education or less used the computer less than all other education groups. Computer usage increased as income level increased.

Papper noted that one of the biggest surprises in this report is that, at home, broadband users did not spend more time on the Internet than dial-up users.

“Obviously, broadband makes Web use faster, but people appear to be using that speed for efficiency rather than to spend more time online,” he said. “Broadband and dial-up users averaged around 1.5 hours a day online at home. This similarity could be explained by ergonomics. Maybe there’s a limit to how much time people are willing to spend in front of a computer screen.”

Mike Bloxham, CMD’s director of insight and research, said the study clearly showed how the computer has blurred the lines between work and home, and perhaps between work and play.

Researchers found that more than 22.3 percent of online computer use and 44.3 percent of software use at home was work related. At the same time, however, more than 44.2 percent of online computer use at work did not appear to be work related.

“It is a device used for work, communications, accessing information, and learning — and it is increasingly used for entertainment,” he said. “It has managed to achieve this in a relatively short period of time of about 20 years. This is a noteworthy achievement for a new device in the average office and home.”

More information about how to purchase the report and other CMD research is available at

Ball State University, located one hour northeast of Indianapolis in Muncie, Ind., is the third-largest public university in Indiana, with more than 17,700 students.

The Center for Media Design (CMD) is a research and development facility focused on the creation, testing and practical application of digital technologies for business, classroom, home and community.

Middletown Media Studies 2 (MMS2) builds upon Muncie’s reputation as “Middletown America,” a typical community in the United States. Muncie earned this distinction as a result of the Middletown Studies of the 1920s and ’30s by sociologists Robert and Helen Lynd. MMS2 is a follow-up to a 2004 study that found people consume much more media than they say they do.

Source: Ball State University

Inside Indiana Business

INDIANAPOLIS — Ball State University will transform a downtown Indianapolis office space into a high-tech, interactive education, research, information and outreach center that will offer educational opportunities for working professionals and engage the city and state in economic and quality-of-life development initiatives.

“The Ball State University Indianapolis Center’s main focus will be to offer excellent educational programs aimed at working professionals looking for career advancement,” said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora. “The center will also provide a key resource for state leaders promoting job growth in the insurance industry and city leaders engaged with our College of Architecture and Planning in urban design and planning efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

Inside INdiana Business

MUNCIE, Ind.—Ball State will use a $20 million, four-year grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to enhance its innovative, immersive, educational experiences for students in digital technology, and the grant will fund other educational and research initiatives that may have the potential to produce economic opportunities.

Ball State had already taken steps toward creating a new educational model that uses technology to facilitate collaborative projects with partners across campus, at other institutions and across the world, including digital industry professionals. The university’s push to create this new educational model received a substantial boost in 2001 with a $20 million gift from the Endowment, dubbed the Media Design Initiative, which built on the university’s existing strengths in applied research and allowed faculty and students to spawn interdisciplinary projects in digital media design, digital content development and the testing of digital communications technology.

The design initiative funded the establishment of Ball State’s Center for Media Design (CMD) and several other endeavors that have significantly enhanced Ball State’s reputation, including:

· the groundbreaking Middletown Media Studies. Sponsored by CMD, the studies employed observational research techniques to track the daily media usage habits of Americans, and the studies’ results have received national and international attention;

· the award-winning “Brain” project, also sponsored by CMD, which won an award from Billboard magazine for Best Use of Technology for Educational Programming, beating out competitors that included The Walt Disney Co. The “Brain” used commercial software developed by Brain Technologies of Santa Monica, Calif., to help lead students through simulated case studies in social work, nursing, criminal justice, and speech pathology; and

· a major investment in video production equipment, including high-definition cameras, that provided students with tools they used to create a Student Academy Award-winning movie and Emmy Award-winning television programs.

“Ball State has solidified its reputation as being one of the most technologically advanced digital educational environments in the nation,” said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora. “We are producing technology-savvy graduates who have benefited from in-depth, immersion learning experiences in this environment, which was recently recognized by Intel Corp. as the best wireless campus in the nation.

“This new gift from the Endowment will fund the Digital Exchange, allowing us to offer immersive learning experiences to more of our students and to encourage them and our faculty to pursue high-tech spin-off business opportunities that may arise from their research.”

The creative concepts of the Digital Exchange proposal were generated through a partnership spearheaded by Philip Repp, associate vice president for information technology, and Dave Ferguson, director of the CMD, which will play an integral role in leading the grant.

“The Digital Exchange will allow the university to innovatively and continuously exchange information through digital technology, yielding educational and possible commercial benefits,” Ferguson said. “Within this fast-changing realm, we believe the state of Indiana may have exciting opportunities to realize a new type of economic potential — one for which Ball State is already preparing students to take full advantage.”

Funding for the Digital Exchange will allow Ball State to create three immersive-learning institutes.

· The Institute for Digital Fabrication and Rapid Prototyping will meld architecture, engineering and construction into a seamless digital enterprise. It will bring together Indiana’s material suppliers — from the limestone producers in Southern Indiana to the steel mills of Gary — and connect them with designers and students worldwide to expedite the transformation of computer-generated designs into finished products on almost any scale.

· The Institute for Intermedia and Animation will put Ball State at the forefront of the three-dimensional animation industry. The institute will center on an animation studio that will immerse students in the production of intermedia art and 3-D animation.

· The Institute for Digital Entertainment and Art will be a production house to bring artistic vision to life and provide Indiana filmmakers access to a proven academic infrastructure and pool of talented students. The partnership will enable Ball State students to showcase their award-winning talents on a daily basis to up-and-coming filmmakers while building relationships that may grow as the students and filmmakers progress in their careers.

Administrative oversight for instituting the grant will be provided by Deborah Balogh, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, and O’Neal Smitherman, vice president for information technology.

By building the university’s media research and testing capability and an enhanced test bed, Ball State will be able to serve as an effective intermediary between industry and consumers, Smitherman said.

“Changes and upgrades in digital media increase exponentially, and end users want results in seconds, not minutes,” he said. “This incessant pace — matched by hyperactive demand — often sees new technologies launched without having sufficient evidence of public demand for the product. Not surprisingly, many of these untested endeavors tank.

“But Ball State will be in a position to provide an invaluable service that will give students and faculty opportunities to conduct cutting-edge, industry-oriented research and enhance the university’s reputation, while also forming relationships that could have positive economic benefits.”

Lilly Endowment has been most pleased and excited with the progress Ball State has made since the 2001 grant for the Media Design Initiative, said Sara B. Cobb, Endowment vice president for education.

“The faculty, staff and students have shown great imagination and creativity in their endeavors to make the best possible educational and professional use of the new technologies that are having such an impact on the ways we communicate with each other.

“The Endowment believes that the Media Design Initiative has had a major impact on the university and its national image. This new grant will increase the number of learning experiences for students, especially by strengthening the connections among professors, undergraduate and graduate students, and media industry professionals. This ‘triad’ approach is a most promising model. The programs that this new round of funding will support will build on the university’s positive national momentum and foster the initiative’s ongoing sustainability,” she said.

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:
March 2021



Insight and research in the News