May 17, 2010

Five More Things Everyone Is Wrong About

After about a hundred years in advertising, there are still things that continue to amaze me.
  • How much we don't know 
  • How the business is still driven primarily by legends and rituals
  • How specious opinions about advertising become facts when repeated enough times by self-promoting loudmouths at worthless conferences
A little over a year ago I wrote a piece called "Facts Still Matter: The Death and Life of Television." The thrust of the piece was about the resilience of TV.

In that piece, I quoted a study done at Ball State University. The study was particularly interesting to me because instead of relying on self-reported data (which is the basis of most media studies and is totally unreliable) they followed people around and watched actual behavior.

The results of the study were eye-opening and completely repudiated the claims of the "television is dead/the 30-second spot is dead/the web has changed everything" crowd who have hustled and bullied their way into the forefront of marketing thinking.

More results from this study have been released and they are equally remarkable. Here are some of the findings:
1. The vast majority of viewers don't leave the room or change the channel when the TV program they are watching goes to commercial
"86% of viewers remain with live TV during commercials..."
2. The rate of channel surfing is essentially the same during commercials as it is programming
"11% of viewers change channels during the four minutes of TV programming before the commercial break; only 14% change channels during commercials; and 13% change channels in the four-minute period after programming returns. "
3. The rate of getting up from the room and leaving is essentially identical during the program and during the spots
"19% change rooms in the four minutes before a commercial break; 20% during; and 21% in the four minutes after programming returns."
4. The two most prevalent multi-tasking activities that go on during TV watching have nothing to do with the web
"Concurrent activities are led by “care of another,” at 12% in the two minutes prior to and during commercial breaks; and “meal preparation,” at 8%..."
5. The rate of multi-tasking does not increase during commercial breaks. In fact, compared to the 2 minutes before a commercial break, multi-tasking actually decreases by 1 percent during commercials
Next time some digi-dork vomits up the old "no one watches commercials anymore" line, smack him in the head for me.

More on this subject later this week

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