inTV, a group of major international TV channels working together to promote the benefits of international television to the advertising industry, recently held a symposium that brought together experts from media giants to discuss growing industry trends.
“As an industry, we are having to evolve at break-neck speed; understanding how content is consumed across different platforms is vital for all media brands,” said Sonia Marguin, Research Director, Euronews.
“The channels within the inTV group are at the forefront of high-quality video content delivery. We not only need to keep pace with these changes, but share that knowledge with our agency and client partners.”
Members of inTV include BBC World, CNBC, Euronews, Eurosport, France 24, National Geographic Channel, Sky News and TV5Monde, and below are the four main trends being watched by these digitally-savvy channels.
Tim Elkington, Research Director of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), described the backdrop of multi-screen consumption against which these developments were emerging.
“Goodbye second-screening, hello omni-screening,” he said. “If you’re thinking about the world in terms of two screens, actually, that’s gone, and we need to think about multiple screens.”
According to recent data from the IAB, two-thirds of people frequently use another device when watching TV. Yet multi-screening is not just about TV plus another screen; 51% of people said they often used a smartphone and a laptop simultaneously.
2. Paying attention
Comscore’s Director, Media, James Cameron, said that while audiences were fragmenting, overall media consumption was rising, with second and third-screen use coming largely in addition to television viewing.
In research in the US for sports channel ESPN, Comscore found that – in a market with 143 million smartphones and 71 million tablets – users of these devices were spending more time consuming media than those without connected devices, and were more engaged in what they were doing. For ESPN, the channel generated 44% additional reach through viewing on non-TV devices.
As well as this, Mark Adams, Director at audience development agency The Audience, discussed the growing influence of celebrities on the creation of content, and the benefits of brands pairing with celebrities.
“The brand voice is dramatically less conductive than that of the correct social influencers. Brands creating conversations is pretty futile; pop culture flows anyway,” he said
3. Innovative data collection techniques
Dan Calladine, Head of Futures with Carat Global Management, said it was fascinating to see how the changing media world was fuelling creativity in data collection and analysis. As the opportunities to consume media continue to grow, the research industry is having to think differently; simply adding another raft of questions to a survey is an obsolete approach.
“We can no longer afford to treat respondents as commodities we can mine for data,” said Bill Doris, Head of Insight with Havas Media UK. “Passive measurement is going to be really important over the next few years.”
Jim Ford, Global Development Director at Ipsos, described how the MediaCell TV project is already commercially deploying personal passive metering via smartphone, using an inaudible watermark in TV programming that’s picked up by an app on a handset, and the data sent to a central server every few hours. The potential exists, he said, to recruit respondents to both the Affluent survey and MediaCell, then merge the data for even deeper insights.
Simon McDonald, Business Director, Media and Entertainment at InSites Consulting, said quick-fire surveys were still valuable, but tasks that required respondents to do something – either socially with other consumers, or in collaboration with brands – were the future. Online “villages” where respondents give reasons for their views and can react to other people’s answers elicited great insights in a way that was engaging for those taking part.
“Fans are talking about you all the time,” McDonald said. “Eight out of 10 brand fans tell you they really want to help the brands they have a relationship with.
“Consumers are the most effective consultants for your company. The onus is on researchers to really reinvent our toolbox and really collaborate with consumers in the longer term.”
4. Consumer-eye view
Other progressive approaches to media research employ new technology to see what consumers are really watching, and also how they feel about it. Tech company Sticky uses webcam-based eye tracking to monitor how consumers absorb content and advertising. It can track where people look on a screen and in what order, their dwell time on each area, and which parts of a page, site or video are being ignored altogether, giving clients the information they need to optimise their content and reduce wastage.
Realeyes, meanwhile, monitors physiological changes in consumers as they watch content or advertising, including tiny changes in their facial expressions. Realeyes CEO Mihkel Jäätma has used the technique to predict – with 75% accuracy – successful entries to the Cannes Lions advertising awards based on the intensity and timing of different emotions they invoke. Facial expressions of basic emotions are consistent across cultures.
“Creativity has been hard to measure, until now,” Jäätma said. “Consumers love emotional content.”
Ads with optimised emotional triggers were more effective; they got three times the average number of people viewing an ad all the way through, eight times the average click-through rate, and 20 times the number of conversions from views into social actions.
The future of media measurement to some extent will depend on the future of media consumption.
The symposium heard that in the past month, 100 million people worldwide had accessed the internet via their television set, providing the “lean back” experience of viewing from the sofa, but with all the content that the internet has to offer.