In 2009, the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) formed to conduct tests and better understand viewer habits. The consortium — made up of media owners, advertisers and media agencies, including AT&T, CBS, Discovery, NBCUniversal, News Corp, Procter & Gamble, Time Warner and Unilever — performed two tests studying consumer habits across devices
and presented the results earlier this month in New York. Basically, how Online Video Beats Television.
The findings? Cue the Fine Young Cannibals, please.
“There isn’t cannibalization. Other platforms are complementary to television,” said Carol Edwards, senior vice president for cross-platform sales and marketing at Arbitron, which formed a panel of 500 consumers for one of the two tests. ComScore created a panel of 10,000 for the other test.
In other words, just because viewers are watching more on their computers and mobile devices doesn’t mean they don’t have an appetite for TV. In fact, online viewers watched more TV than their non-online viewing counterparts (a rapidly shrinking population). Somewhat surprisingly, the youngest demographic doesn’t make up the largest group viewing on all three screens. Instead, that honor goes to adults ages 35 to 49, followed by those 50 and older.
The tests also found participants engaged with media brands across all three screens. About 90 percent engaged on television, compared with 25 percent online and 12 percent with online video. This shows that “efforts by traditional TV brands to extend their reach onto new screens may be working,” the New York Times said.
These findings are in line with our long-held notion that it’s not the content that’s changing in the age of online video, but the medium. People will watch more film and TV content if given the opportunity to watch on, say, their tablets, underscoring the importance of making videos available across all platforms and devices.
While these findings provide insights to the organization’s members, CIMM says the tests should be scaled to provide more reliable results that will help set rates for video ads online and on mobile devices. It’s a shame there isn’t a faster, more accurate solution.
By Adam Sewall