US reports say the Council for Research Excellence, a cross-industry think tank of top executives from agencies and TV networks, has spent the past year executing a $3.5 million project called the "Video Consumer Mapping Study." The initiative is described as, "the largest and most significant observational study of media activity ever undertaken."
Shari Anne Brill, Senior-VP director of at Carat, said, "People are in fact watching commercials and not running screaming from the room and younger viewers haven't abandoned television." The major findings are being kept for a presentation on Thursday, March 26.
The study, full details of which will be out next week, was funded, in part, by Nielsen Media Research, and was created to investigate commonly held, but perhaps mistaken beliefs about TV viewings. Data was gathered via Webcams that tracked consumer behaviour in and out of the home. Participants were also tracked by researchers through their daily lives. If consumers were using media during private times such as bathroom visits or when they were getting ready for bed, they were asked to track that in a diary. The research council recruited 350 people from six TV markets and conducted two phases of the survey in Spring and Fall 2008. It also offered new media devices at a discount to people to try to measure how interested people would be in certain products if their prices came down.
Steve Sternberg, executive VP, director of audience analysis at Magna said "Multi-tasking is not a young person's phenomenon. Traditional TV still accounts for the bulk of viewing to all three screens."