How Do People Watch TV: Does Anyone Know (Part II)
In my opinion, present-day media pundits have no idea of how people view TV in our evolving world of digital acronymed television platforms, services and advertising applications--i.e., DVR (digital video recorders), IPG (interactive program guide), VOD (video on demand and its many permutations), RFI (request for interactions), to name the most recognizable.
My interest has waned concerning the current debates about program ratings versus commercial ratings (pods and individual), average minute viewing versus second-by-second viewing, and DVR playback viewing (live and within three). Valuable as they may be, what about the basic stuff of TV viewing--i.e., the context by which a viewer interacts with the TV, programming and advertising?
As an example, when I watch TV--I am a DirecTV subscriber, and primarily an evening viewer--I first switch to my TiVo library to get rid of programs that have recorded, but I may have second thoughts about or possibly repeats. Then I begin my hunt for programs to record, so I click on my IPG then go to channel 500, the HBO premium listing. I scroll down to 550, which covers all variations of HBO, Starz and Showtime, as well as Sundance and IFC. From there, I click to 255, and check up and down within the frame to scrutinize BBCA and TCM. I go back to my TiVo recorded programs to choose the evening's viewing fare and gleefully fast-forward through commercials but with an eye on commercial frames to see if they will pique my interest--and if they do, I will rewind and afford them the courtesy of watching in full.
Throughout the evening and in between viewed episodes, I will journey back to the IPG to browse the late-night listings. I don't have HD yet--a problem with line of sight issues--and my cable operator doesn't offer VOD presently, so I cannot include those services in the trials and tribulations of the evening's search.
In my opinion, if the media community understood how viewers utilized the aforementioned TV viewing services, and in which combinations, we would be in better shape to evolve more meaningful advertising applications to provide connections with the consumer of our products--the most important "C" word. So what are we media mandarins going to do about it?
At the time of my blog's publication, a fellow TV Boarder, Chase's Manning Field, was commissioning a study on this very subject. I proposed that anyone reading my blog could submit ideas for incorporation into the study. Silence. Until now. I am happy to report that TNS Media Research, a global pioneer in the development of digital audience measurement services based upon set-top box data, has accepted the challenge.
Quietly, TNS has been working with several operators, including Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, satcaster DirecTV and a plethora of content providers, to address "how people watch TV." In our estimation, some of the advantages to utilizing set-top box data include garnering click-stream data instead of reliance on the traditional sample-centric approach, the ability to monitor a viewer's sojourn throughout the entire spectrum of television choices, and of course, the granular reportage of the very timely and topical second-by-second commercial audience measurement. Cannot wait to scrutinize the results. I wish TNS luck, success and evolution in this endeavor. You should, too.