Tag Archives: Nielsen

The Money Pit

Way back in 1986, Tom Hanks made a film called The Money Pit.

Cover of "The Money Pit"

Having moved into our second suburban house a year or two before – this one an old farm-house – I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as the movie told the story of how a little crack in a wall is the first sign of a much bigger problem to come.

I thought of that as I read the latest version of the Nielsen Cross Platform Report. You can read it for yourself here and see if what I’m about to discuss reminds you of the same thing.  Nielsen found that TV viewing hasn’t dropped much from last year at this time.  In fact:

In Q2 2012, Americans spent more than 34 hours per week in front of a TV set. We watched traditional TV, DVDs and played games. Most of the content from these activities was delivered to us on the TV set in a traditional manner, over broadcast, cable, satellite or telco connection, and a growing amount was delivered by Internet connection. Americans also added another 5 hours in front of the computer screen using the Internet or watching video content.

No cracks there.  Except as I read through the report, a couple of things stood out.  First, Nielsen estimates tablets are in 20% of homes and rising.  Close to 40% of Americans who have them now use their tablets or smartphones while watching TV at least once a day.  They’re still watching even if their attention is now shared.  Crack?

Here is something else.  The amount of time spent watching traditional TV is substantially lower among people under the age of 35.  Those under the age of 25 watch roughly 22 hours a week while those over 50 watch twice as many hours.  The missing hours are spent watching on game consoles and mobile devices.  Given the desirability of the younger demos to marketers, this might be another crack in the house of traditional media.

Finally, the number of cord-cutters (homes with broadcast TV only and broadband internet), while still tiny (5.1 million homes) was growing while cable and broadband subs were shrinking (80 million to just under 78 million).  That kind of reminds me how we used to view cable TV‘s small audience gains in the early 1990’s while we, the big broadcast TV networks, had huge viewership.  That was a crack in the wall then, just as this might be now.

We’re still in that farm-house home, many repairs and a lot of money later.  The big media businesses aren’t going anywhere, but they might need to be thinking about the repairs to come.  The next few years will be interesting as they patch all the cracks.

How have your viewing habits changed?  What does that imply for your marketing or for your business?

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Service Vs. Social

When you’re connecting with your friends and relatives on Facebook or other social media, do you think of it as marketing?  I don’t.  I’m not certain what I call it but if marketing is the communication of a product’s value I’m definitely not trying to convey my value as a person to others.  Not consciously anyway.

Why I’m asking the question is our old friend “social media marketing.”  There was another study released a week or so ago, this one by the good folks at NM Incite (which is a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey so they ought to know!).  It covered customer service via social media and found (as summarized in this article) that:

The majority of Twitter and Facebook users — 83% and 71%, respectively — expect a response from a brand within the same day of posting. Some 71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective response are more likely to recommend that brand to others, compared with 19% who do not receive any response… The biggest issue: 36% report having problems solved quickly and effectively, while only 14% report that the company responds quickly but does not resolve the issue, and 10% report never receiving a response at all.

That data is presented in the context of a positive experience leading to positive posts which can be shared across other social spheres.   In other words, marketing.  What I find interesting is that this information  along with some additional thinking on social, is more about serving the brand’s own needs than those of the audience.  As I postulated at the top, while I’m very happy to help out my connections in any way I can I’m not monitoring social media with a marketing mindset.  Unless and until brands can approach social as we non-digital, non-corporate entities do (read that as humans), brands will always be seen much as we do a social connection we made at a party many years ago and with whom we have little or no bond.  Those connections are kind of creepy and I, for one, always wonder why I even have them.  A lot of folks “unfriend”, hide or block those people and you might not even know it if you are the one blocked.  Ouch, especially if you’re a brand.

If we’re going to use social media to connect with consumers, I can’t think of a better reason to do so than customer service.  Yes, that can be a gateway to shared, positive experiences, just as it can precipitate a storm of bad comments if done badly.  It’s not something I’d approach with a marketing mindset if you’re trying to humanize the brand.  Unless, of course, all of your real friends use their accounts mostly to sell you insurance, real-estate, or used cars.  Then you just might need a few new friends!

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Debating The Second Screen

Tonight is the first of several debates in the current campaign for president and I’m very much looking forward to it. These things are great theater even if they’re usually not particularly informative. I liken them to trade shows – no one ever makes any huge news at them unless they make a mistake. The big stuff is saved for an event one can completely orchestrate and the debates (or trade shows) don’t qualify.

I think, however, that these events might be a bit different this time around and it has nothing to do with the candidates themselves. They will not answer the question asked but instead will put out whatever talking point tested well. They generally won’t get too specific about anything and they’ll probably spend more time on things that have very little to do with solving the challenges that face the country and more to do with the loud nonsense that seems to surround our elections. One thing will be very different, however, and that may make all the difference.

85 percent of tablet owners use the device while watching TV, according to one study and Nielsen says 45 percent of Americans use their tablet while watching TV daily.  Throw in smartphone use and suddenly there is a majority of people conversing and fact-checking in real time during the debates.  In addition, one hopes that there will be sentiment analysis pushed out by the major firms in that field as we go.  I wonder if either campaign is smart enough to be monitoring that during the debate and if either candidate will be told to adjust anything during a break? It’s sort of the digital version of the positive/negative lines CNN usually runs based on a panel twisting dials.

Lincoln knew you can’t fool all of the people all of the time and given that there will be real-time fact checking happening concurrently tonight, I don’t think these guys will even be able to fool all of the people some of the time.  Another example of how technology has changed media and politics for the better?  I think so.  What do you think?

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Trust Me

For you trivia buffs in the audience, there once was a TV game show called “Who Do You Trust?” The host of the show was a struggling comic named Johnny Carson and a year into the run he picked up a guy named Ed McMahon as his announcer sidekick. The rest is television history.

That bit of history has very little to do with today’s topic other than it asks the question the study I want to highlight answers. Who do you trust? For consumers, the answer appears to be one another.  Nielsen released its Global Trust in Advertising Survey and it shows that

92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising, an increase of 18% since 2007. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70% of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform, an increase of 15% in four years.

That’s the good news.  The bad?

…While 47% of consumers around the world say they trust paid television, magazine, and newspaper ads, confidence declined by 24%, 20% and 25% respectively since 2009.

You can read more about this here but the data reinforces the fact that we’re in the midst of a huge transition in marketing.  While most brands are still making the bulk of their marketing investment in paid media, the messages those media disseminate are declining in effectiveness as consumers find other sources of credible information to help with purchase decisions.  Visibility and relevance are not the same thing.

More brands are making efforts in what’s popularly called “earned media.”  They hire an intern to monitor message broads and social media while at the same time they spend millions paying creative types and media buys to work on their TV and print.  While I’m not for a minute suggesting the abandonment of traditional media, perhaps it’s time to look at reallocating resources better to reflect modern realities?  The money spent on the last two titles on your media plan could be working a lot more effectively elsewhere in media more trusted by your consumers.

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If you managed to get through middle school math (I’m hopeful that means most of you), you’re familiar with the term “Lowest Common Denominator.” In math it’s a way to combine unlike fractions by finding a common ground. In business, it’s a way to screw yourself up. You see, there’s another nonmathematic use of LCD and it refers to the lowest or least sophisticated level of something, and that’s the subject of today’s screed.

As anyone who has worked in broadcasting will tell you, the ratings system is a sort of shared myth. Nielsen puts out numbers, TV executives believe them and TV buyers believe the TV executives. Of course, it says right on the front of the ratings book that they’re only accurate up to a point, and like any number based on a sample the results are really a range. That range can be pretty wide as the number of folks in the sample who did something declines (so the published rating for American Idol is probably closer to the truth than the rating for a show ranked 125).

Which is why I find this disturbing:

TubeMogul is bringing Online Campaign Ratings to its RTB video ad platform. The agreement between TubeMogul and Nielsen means advertisers and agency trading desks can cross-reference GRPs for audience age and gender demographics with impressions and clicks to get a fuller sense of a campaign’s performance.

Simple announcement which a number of folks covered.  Except, of course, when one reads further:

While TubeMogul is able to relay metrics like impressions and clicks in real-time, Nielsen’s GRP numbers are only available daily, as with their broadcast GRP metrics. Also TubeMogul’s advertisers will have to log in to the Nielsen dashboard separately to view GRP numbers alongside metrics on TubeMogul’s platform.

In other words, we’re bringing down digital’s great system of non-sampled measurement to the LCD of TV.  That’s bad business in my book.  I realize that the advertising ecosystem isn’t quite able yet to deal with a completely different set of metrics, especially metrics presented in real-time, but the further we dumb down the standards the more likely it is that those lower standards become the norm instead of temporary fixes.

Digital measurement isn’t perfect.  Faulty implementations, disreputable folks cheating via bots and other ways, and an overwhleming amount of data we don’t often present well are issues.  But even with these and other faults the reporting and accuracy is better than what we used in TV, which any TV or agency person will tell you is pretty much a fantasy if you get them talking over a drink.

We can do better!

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Detective Movies and Broadband

When I watch a thriller or detective movie, I find myself paying a lot of attention to minor things – a front desk clerk, a random event like what’s playing on a TV in a bar – because inevitably the end of the movie involves something that was hinted at earlier.  The key is usually something to which no one seems to be paying attention but would have been recognized as highly significant had they been.

I thought of that when I read a couple of articles over the last week and as I’m going through the reports of yesterday’s new iPad announcement.  Let’s see if the pieces – none of which is seen as a big deal – get you thinking about the ending as they do to me.

First off, there was the report from Nielsen that looks at cord-cutters – those homes that have abandoned cable TV and are using the Internet and over the air signals to watch the programming they previous got via cable:

Though less than 5 percent of TV households, homes with broadband Internet and free, broadcast TV are on the rise—growing 22.8 percent over last year. These households are also found to exhibit interesting video behaviors: they stream video twice as much as the general population and watch half as much TV.

Even among those who haven’t cut the cord, there is a shift to video and Internet provided by the telephone companies:

The number of homes subscribing to wired cable has decreased 4.1 percent in the past year at the same time that telephone company-provided and satellite TV have seen increases of 21.1 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Maybe it’s in part due to higher bit-rates available from companies traditionally seen as ISP’s?  After all, access to broadband Internet is a big priority:

Demonstrating that consumers are increasingly making Internet connectivity a priority, 75.3 percent pay for broadband Internet (up from 70.9% last year); 90.4 percent pay for cable, telephone company-provided TV or satellite. Homes with both paid TV and broadband increased 5.5 percent since last year.

OK – that’s a few of the “minor” characters – nothing huge there.  Now add this:

Across Europe, the Web has surpassed TV as the primary platform for 18-to-35 viewers to watch their favorite sport, according to new research conducted by Havas Sport & Entertainment for the Global Sports Forum Barcelona.

And this:

Stateside, the evidence suggests that more sports nuts are choosing to forgo pay-TV services for Internet services. According to The NPD Group, iVOD users reduced the time they spent watching television shows, news and sports via pay-TV companies by 12% between August 2010 and August 2011.

Every major sports league has some sort of online pay package available, which is not new.  Now let’s add in the new iPad which is becoming the second screen of choice for a lot of people along with an improved AppleTV that makes putting streamed content on to your HD television a snap.  Suddenly, we might be looking at a milestone (and the end of the movie for some businesses).  Live sports is one of the (and I think THE) killer apps.  Up until recently it’s been hard (or illegal) to find your live sport of choice outside of pay TV available through a cable operator.  Suddenly, higher speed broadband married to better devices married to that content being available via your ISP and the ability to throw it on to your big screen TV with no loss of quality while marrying it to apps, data, and social interfaces might be a twist no one saw coming.  Except I think maybe now we can.

What do you think?

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Something Had To Give

I know it’s Friday and we usually do something food-related, but since we covered a food topic earlier this week, today it’s media.  There was an interesting piece earlier this week about the changing viewing habits of younger folks.  Not surprisingly, at least to me, is what the Nielsen study found and I want to share it with you today in case you missed it.  I suppose that the main point is that there are only 24 hours in a day, and even if you DVR or otherwise capture 96 hours worth of content in those 24 hours, you still have to find the time to watch it.  But here are the facts and you tell me what you think. Continue reading

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