Media Insights Q&A with Shari Anne Brill
Below is a short excerpt from the interview. Direct links to the full interview videos can be found at http://weislermedia.blogspot.com/search?q=brill
Charlene Weisler: Shari Anne, what would you say has been the most dramatic change in the industry in the past five years, beyond the research sphere?
Shari Anne Brill: I think the most dramatic change in the industry is the access to all different consumer technologies. Back in the day when new technologies would be introduced virtually, every consumer would get the same thing. You would have a 100% television penetration. You would have nearly 90% cable and satellite.
Now there are other technologies that are available, but not everybody is acquiring them. For example, DVRs have been around since the end of the '90s yet only 35% of the country even has one. HD TV has not been widely embraced yet. I think there is a wait for the prices to come down. Similarly, broadband connections are first starting to come into play. You name the mobile device and it is out there. But there are all sorts of different ways consumers can get content, and it's much more fragmented -- not just by programming choice, but also by the device on which you can get the programming.
CW: There has been a retrenchment of research in many media companies. Going forward, what do you think the role of research will be within agencies?
SB: Carat recognizes the value of research, which is the reason I have been here as long as I have. We realize that the consumer is at the center of everything. And research is at the center of understanding what drives consumers intent and media habits and purchase decisions.
CW: Can you talk a bit about the Video Consumer Mapping study and some of the results?
SB: Absolutely. We've found out, for example, that media plays a huge part in people's daily lives. What was really interesting is that there was all this thought in the industry that nobody under the age of 30 watches television. We found out through our study that viewers 18-24 watch an average of 3 ½ hours a day of television, which is huge because they use TV more than any other medium [though] it was thought that they would be online more than watching television. [Still], they are the heaviest consumers of online media.
We also learned that, really surprisingly -- we didn't expect this -- that people between the ages of 45 and 54 consumer more content than any other age group. They consumed TV like older consumers, but use computers and mobile like younger consumers. And they actually consume one hour more a day of screen media per day than all the other age cohorts that we looked at. We nicknamed them "Digital Boomers."
We also found out that media occurs in the context of other media, but one is usually dominant. And we found out that people who watch television or play back items on DVRs are much more likely to be using those two media as a sole medium. We have also seen that online usage is really high, but online video is not particularly high because not a lot of people in our sample had the broadband connections. But we envision that this will grow because of the advent of the digital transition...
CW: Is there anything that you would like to add?
SB: Yes. Regarding television -- and not so much the television screen itself, but content. I believe that good content has value, and I think our business is going to be changing in how consumers have access. Currently in the online world, a lot of content is available for free. I think that the model is being rethought by many of the content creation companies.
You see what is happening now with TV Everywhere and Comcast's new venture called Xfinity, where there will be a user authentication process to allow people to access content on other platforms by proving that they have bought a cable subscription.
I believe that Hulu and other services will probably go to some type of pay model. And I also believe that increasingly more of the programming that is out there will carry the commercials that advertisers have paid for in pattern, because I know that many of these content companies want to have that additional viewership captured in commercial ratings.
(As we go to press, Shari Anne Brill is no longer with Carat.)