Media Insights Q&A with Horst Stipp
Following is an excerpt from the interview, which covered a range of subjects including DVR trends, set top box data, International research, NBCU's TAMI measurement and an assessment of future trends in the media landscape. Links to the complete set of seven interview videos can be found here.
Charlene Weisler: You are in a very unique position in the industry because you work for a company that has a broadcast network, a range of cable networks and a very strong off-platform. How would you say that the research community and the research that you do has changed in the past five to 10 years?
Horst Stipp: There are a lot of issues. One is of course the currency; the need to get more data on the smaller networks as well as to get measurement of the DVR, time-shifted viewing and finally of online viewing. That's been a major issue in those last years.
The movement of a plain old-fashioned television exposure currency to cross media and online measurement and time shifted measurement. You may have heard about NBC's creation, T.A.M.I. - the total audience measurement index - which is an attempt to describe the total reach of a television program on all these new platforms in the absence of a true cross-media, cross-platform measurement tool, which we don't have yet. So that's the ad exposure issue.
Secondly, I think there has been a move towards more sales research at all the networks --certainly at NBC. Part of that has been our embrace of I.A.G. (which measures, among other things, in-program product placement) in the early stages. I think we were the first network to actually use IAG data as a secondary guarantee for some of our clients. So it was establishing working with new measures. We did, at the time, a very innovative study on galvanic skin responses (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_skin_response) and eye-tracking measures to establish that when people see commercials that they time-shifted and fast-forwarded, that they still get a lot of information even though they are watching fast-forward because they are very much focused on the screen. Apparently the brain is hard-wired to make sense out of what is in front of you even though it's in fast-forward. So that was an interesting new methodology. And there is an increased demand for cross-media research simply to demonstrate and establish if you advertise across platforms, that you get more bang for your buck....
CW: Where do you see the biggest challenges to your job in research coming from in the next five years?
HS: I think research in general has two issues. One is, I think, a very old one and one is maybe a little more recent. The older one is to sell the research to management. Make it useful, show that it is useful, demonstrate its usefulness, provide the kind of information that is really needed but on the other hand, [don't] oversell it, either. And of course that is a very fine balance and sometimes we tend to oversell it a little as researchers because we are very passionate about the data.
The shortcomings are that people don't always know what they want or don't always tell you the truth. Respondents are notoriously bad at telling you about the future -- such as, what kind of programs would you really like to see that you currently don't find on TV? The typical answer is more of my favorite programs right now. I think they are also very bad at predicting the adoption of certain technologies. That has always been an issue.
The new issue that has come up is that, because of the quickening pace of technology and of changes in media, [there is] an increased demand for [answers to] the kind of question that you just asked, which is "What's going to happen? How is this going to develop?"....