advertising, broadcasting, researching, television, viewing

Getting more out of the ad break: how ITV prove the extent to which content affinity is transferred to advertising

some new research from ITV attaches some numbers to what we all – should – intuitively know.  the network's Event TV research, which can be viewed here, quantitates the simple theory that "compelling content generates higher levels of interest and awareness" in advertising.

the research looked at 'event TV' – programming that is anticipated, time-sensitive (ie less likely to be time-shifted), and which often involves ritual behaviour (getting the pizzas in for example).  what most defines such programming however is the extent to which it is a shared experience. 'true fans' – those more likely to seek-out additional programme content and talk about it – are also those most likely watch in groups.  the shared experience doesn't of course stop there – they are very much aware that the same broadcast is being watched by millions of others at that very moment.

watch with other (source: ITV)

the research goes on to quantify the extent to which such fans are less likely to flick over when the ads come on, and therefore more likely to watch the commerciality that is the break (eg true soap fans are 97% more likely to watch the ads during their shows than their non-fan equivalents).  finally, it demonstrates the extent to which affinity for programmes seems to be transferred to ads, with fans of TV shows having more positive opinions of the advertising in breaks throughout the show.

it must be said I find myself asking what this actually tangibly means for planning and buying.  the benefit for ITV is clear; this research makes the case for the justification of investment in event (and therefore often peak-time) programming.  but this airtime is oversubscribed as is – further encouraging agencies to plan into this space will only lead to further premiumisation (I know that's not a word btw) of said airtime.

that quibble aside, this is not only a solid bit of research to add to our collective canon, but is research brilliantly presented in the form of a video-diary of a day ('sofa-Saturday') in the life of a household from the perspective of the TV.  you can view it from the above link, I recommend it.

it also highlights the extent to which viewers will track desired content across platforms; there's an interesting multi-platform (transmedia) opportunity for a campaign that wanted to acknowledge and capitalise on the multi-platform relationship true fans have thru their content.


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