Rivalries Emerge, Submerge In Media Measurement: Within Industry And The Household

Ubiquitous digital media technologies are having a profound impact on the way people are consuming video programming across screens -- and equally significantly, across all aspects of their lives, according to the preliminary findings of an important ethnographic study previewed to attendees of a Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement Summit (CIMM) in New York Thursday afternoon.

The release of the study by Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence (CRE), also signaled something of a detente between the two rivalrous industry research groups, and part of a broader effort to coordinate and integrate a wide range of advertising and media industry media measurement and research initiatives, said CRE Facilitator Richard Zackon, who gave the CIMM attendees a first look on the ethnographic study at the request of CIMM Managing Director Jane Clarke.

He said the research groups -- including the CRE, CIMM, the Media Rating Council, The Advertising Research Foundation, and even broader trade groups like the 4As, the Association of National Advertisers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau -- are moving “from competition to cooperation” to avoid redundancies, conflicts and to coordinate their efforts for greater overall industry effect.

Noting that the historic rivalries go beyond historic competition for financial resources such as membership fees and research budgets, Zackon said an even bigger issue was “competition for your time and attention for these activities.” As a result, he said another initial step will be to simply coordinate the calendars of the industry groups to ensure they avoid scheduling events, meetings and announcements that step on each others toes and attention spans.

In terms of the findings of the ethnographic research, Zackon cautioned that it was extremely preliminary, and more vetted and detailed results would follow, but the initial findings of the research were conducted for the CRE by researcher GfK (while Nielsen funds the initiatives, Nielsen clients decide what research is conducted and who conducts it).

But the top line paints a picture of consumers who are much more sophisticated in their use and adoptions of new digital media technologies and reveals that their adoption is having a profound impact on when, where, why and what kind of video they consume.

The top 10 findings of the research are listed below, but Zackon pointed out a couple of highlights, including the fact that the multivariate nature of digital video consumption ironically is drawing families together, not pulling them apart the way recent historical developments in media technology had been progressing.

The reason, he said, is that household members now need to “negotiate” where, when and how content is consumed within the household (see item five below).

“With all the technology in the household, people are talking to each other, if only to fight over what they’re watching and whose watching it,” Zackon said of the trend, which could well be called “family feuding” vs. “family viewing.” Zackon said he took this as a “positive,” if “ironic” trend.

Top Ten Findings From The CRE’s Ethnographic  Of Video Consumption

1 - Consumer sophistication with devices and platforms across all household types is higher than anticipated.

2 - Children and teens are influencing technology purchases and content consumption.

3 - Content is driving decisions about tech solutions. People want to watch what they want, when they want it, how they want it.

4 - Decisions about new technology purchases are beginning to be influenced by the ability to stream content.

5 - Where, when and how content is consumed often results from negotiation among multiple household members.

6 - With more personal devices and platforms available, people are discovering more content through personal referrals, social media, and their own growing expectations.

7 - Simultaneous multi-screen use is common. We are uncovering the whys.

8 - Multiple viewing approaches have been observed across all household types (e.g., time-based, binging/marathoning, sampling).

9 - The growing accessibility of free wifi and hotspots appears to be stimulating more mobile viewing outside of the home.

10 - YouTube is emerging as a viewing option for programming beyond amateur videos and it is widely consumed regardless of households types and demographics.

Tags: tv, video
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