New Studies Address Multiscreen Viewing, Measurement Capabilities

A pair of feasibility studies on cross-platform measurement found that a considerable number of viewers are accessing related content on multiple screens, while suggesting that simultaneous use of TV and another device should continue to rise.

The studies were commissioned by the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM),  a group that includes networks, advertisers and agencies, to gain insight into how the industry can move forward in tracking video content across the TV, PC and mobile outlets.

Set to be presented this week at an Advertising Research Foundation conference, the research comes at a time when many consider cross-platform measurement to be one of the most vexing and critical issues in media measurement. The studies -– one from Arbitron, one from comScore -– underscore the various methods that can be used to evaluate multiscreen consumption, which may continue to prevent the industry from embracing just one.

The Arbitron study was rooted in a panel of 500 individuals, who have been part of its portable people meter (PPM) panel and are ages 18+. Conducted from November 2011-January 2012, the PPM tracked TV and some online video, while meters were used for PC and mobile consumption.



In the mobile arena, tablets and iPhones were not used, just Android and BlackBerry devices. Video related to networks could appear on sites run by networks or others, such as Hulu, Netflix or YouTube.

The research found that 35.5% of participants accessed content on all three screens (TV, PC and mobile). Also, 91.7% used the TV and at least one other screen for video, and 48.9% used the combination of a TV and PC.

The research also found that 35% of visited sites offering network-related content at work. Some might say that long-form content is more likely to be viewed off the job, but the results for Hulu may disprove that notion. Participants on average spent more time with the site at work.

Cross-platform measurement will increasingly be called on to offer insight into second-screen use, where a person watches TV and accesses related content at the time. The Arbitron data showed that 65% of network viewers visited a network or other online video site simultaneously.

For TV measurement, Arbitron relied on the PPM, a key tool in its core radio measurement business, while comScore employed set-top-box data. The comScore data came from a wider panel -- one of 10,000 consumers in 22 states with 10% labeled as “active mobile Internet users.” The research was conducted over a five-week period last fall.

It found that on average, 17% of consumers accessed a network’s content on at least two platforms, but in the news, sports and kids' genres, the figure rose to as high as 30% for a particular network. The bulk of the multiscreen use involved TV and the Internet.

Dual-screen use was at a similar level to what Arbitron found. ComScore data showed that 60% of network viewers used the Internet while watching TV at least during the research period, with heavy Facebook use. One network had 25% of its viewers using the Internet at the same time visiting a brand-related site concurrently.

ComScore suggested that digital platforms “may be used to supplement the viewing experience and drive multiplatform engagement.”

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