Media Insights Q&A With Daniel Fischer
Charlene Weisler: In the span of your career, what would you say has been the most dramatic change in the media landscape?
Daniel Fischer: I know we are going to talk about today's buzz -- the use of online and its effect on media. But over the past 30 years, I think the most major change occurred as cable was distributed across the nation. For the first time, consumers had much more choice: 30, 40, 60 and eventually 500 channels. And this changed people's viewing behavior in a radical way. Broadcast networks lost at least 50% of their share, and numerous new brand names were born like MTV, CNN, Discovery and the like. To date, that was a much more profound change than any effect online has had on video consumption.
CW: You have done significant research in the behavior of the commercial pod. Can you share any of your findings with us?
DF: I started Solve It Group in 2005 about the time Nielsen changed the resolution of ratings from quarter hour to minute by minute. I think we all knew that a portion of viewers were shifting during the commercial pod. But the minute by minute ratings proved that it was occurring and gave us layers of ways to understand that, whether we were looking at different demos, dayparts, program genres -- any way you could cut the data.
So very quickly we learned that most drop-off occurs immediately in the first minute, some more in the second minute and then the pod tends to level out with the audience slowly returning. Also, there is a fair amount of variation -- demographics , dayparts, program types. These affect the level of drop-off. And so my clients were people who gained this understanding for their nets and competitors.
CW:Any general words of advice for networks who want to raise the base of their commercial pod ratings?
DF: Well. certainly all networks have been very active in testing different strategies. I think it has been supremely difficult for networks to migrate any of these ideas across all of their pods. Roughly speaking, a 24-hour network has about 30,000 pods per year, which are servicing approximately 120,000 commercials, perhaps 20,000 promos. Huge volume on just one network.
This led me to some work that is showing some very interesting promise. We began to research on the science side, coming up to speed on recent advances in cognitive neuroscience. Tremendous advances have occurred in the last few years. We were very interested in linking the world of science to a needed business application- increasing retention and improving programs during certain key moments.
Over the last 18 months we've gained a very good understanding of "engagement." For our work, engagement and attention are optimized by applying an understanding for how the brain processes audio-visual streams. We have been fortunate to develop and test these ideas with a number of major media companies, and the results are quite promising.
See more of the interview at http://weislermedia.blogspot.com/search?q=fischer