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TV outperforms digital platforms in viewer ad attention in the US: Study

MUMBAI: TV outperforms computer, smartphone and tablet in viewer ad attention and recall in the US, according to a new research study.

The study, conducted by Hub Entertainment Research, was designed to compare viewing of TV shows and advertising across screens to determine whether engagement and recall differ among platforms, and to identify the drivers that have the greatest impact on the viewing experience.

Key findings include:     

  • Attention to advertising and ad recall, two important measures of advertising engagement, are similar among viewers using computer, smartphone and tablet, but higher among those watching a TV set.

For ad recall, 62 per cent of TV viewers were able to recall half or more advertisers, followed by tablet (47 per cent), smartphone (46 per cent) and computer (45 per cent). For attentiveness, 29 per cent of participants rated TV an 8-10 on a 10-point scale where 10 means complete attention, ahead of smartphone (23 per cent), computer (20 per cent) and tablet (17 per cent).

  • Enjoyment, a measure of programme engagement, was high across all platforms but especially so among smartphone viewers.
  • Platform experience is related to actual screen size. Independent of other factors, the viewing experience was significantly more positive among TV set viewers. 89 per cent of participants rated TV an 8-10 on a 10-point scale for enjoyment, followed by tablet (63 per cent), computer (54 per cent) and smartphone (53 per cent).
  • Multi-tasking negatively impacts engagement with ads (sponsor recall) but not with show (plot recall). In addition, the study found that very little multi-tasking behaviour (7-11 per cent, depending on the platform) during ads was related to the brands featured in the ads themselves.

“Our study indicates that the television set is not only the most enjoyable of viewing platforms, but that its strength extends to the diagnostics of ad engagement. It appears that in the world of ad engagement and recall, size really does matter. The challenge for content providers is to find ways to leverage the more personal experience viewers have with smaller screens,” said AMC Networks senior VP research and chair of the CRE’s Media Consumption and Engagement Committee Tom Ziangas.

Hub Entertainment Research principal Peter Fondulas said, “The fact that viewers were equally engaged with program content, regardless of screen, suggests that there’s nothing inherent in the device itself that makes them less likely to pay attention to ads. The more likely culprit for the lower ad engagement on smaller screens is an ad delivery approach that doesn’t align well with the expectations, and viewing situations, of consumers watching on mobile devices.”

The CRE research was presented at Nielsen Consumer 360 by Joe Abruzzo, former chair of the CRE’s Media Consumption and Engagement Committee, and Joanne Burns, a former member of the committee. Richard Zackon, CRE Facilitator, presented an overview of other CRE research projects. Among these is a second phase of the platform viewing study that will consider additional variables such as ad load, ad placement, fast-forwarding and Spanish-language programming.