MPG, OTX Find Digital Media Differences Between Consumers, Industry Execs

Madison Avenue's media elite are responsible for billions of dollars in advertising budgets that can make or break the new and emerging consumer media technologies, but their personal media habits appear to be out of whack with those of the consumers they are supposed to be using media to reach for their clients' brands. Take the digital video recorder (DVR), the TV-shifting device that has become the bane of the advertising world, and has led Nielsen to shift the market's currency from program- to commercial-based ratings. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of agency media executives own a DVR, three times the percentage (20%) of consumers that own the devices, according to the findings of a new study conducted by Havas' MPG unit and media researcher OTX.

"I think this shows there is a lot of it is curiosity among media professionals or advertising professionals, and the consumer public will be catching up with us," says Steve Lanzano, COO of MPG U.S., which conducted the study with OTX to better understand the differences among consumers and media industry professionals.



The study, which surveyed 362 industry executives, including the readers of MediaPost, compared their media habits with those of an OTX survey of 5,000 Americans ages 25-54.

Not surprisingly, the study found that industry executives have more devices and gadgets than the average American consumer in almost every category. Part of the difference can be attributed to differences in the demographics of industry executives vs. the average American, and the fact that their incomes may be higher and they are more apt to live on the East and West coast than the average American. But MPG's Lanzano says a bigger factor is that it is the job of industry professionals to be ahead of the consumer so that they can make business decisions or recommendations to their clients that will anticipate where the marketplace is headed.

That said, industry pros and the average American appear to live in two different media universes. According to OTX, industry pros have two to five times higher penetration of such new media devices as PDAs, HDTV and MP3 player, and their perceptions on the relative importance of these devices also differ markedly.

Asked if access to the Internet "from any location" was important, 62% of industry pros said it was, vs. only 39% of consumers.

There were, however, certain areas where consumers either led or were close to industry professionals in their adoption and perceptions of new media.

The average American household, for example, has a higher penetration (47%) of video game consoles than does the average industry professional (42%), and asked whether they multitask while watching TV both groups had identically the same response: 48%.

However, the study also found other differences in the media consumption patterns between the two groups. For example, media professionals said they watch fewer hours of live TV than consumers: 45% of them saying they watch "5 or fewer hours" per week, vs. only 11% of consumers say they watch 5 or fewer hours of TV per week.

The platform and multimedia findings are important, says Mitch Oscar, executive vice president of television applications at MPG, because the industry is moving away from a TV-centric view of the consumer and much more toward a "multiplatform" approach. Oscar, who organized the study with OTX as part of MPG's new media exchange, says, "Before, it was just about television to us. Now we are looking at multiplatform and we all have to be familiar in those areas."


Media Pros

American Consumer










MP3 Player



Gaming Console



Source: OTX. Base = 5,000 consumers; 362 industry professionals.
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