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Council For Research Excellence To Fund Landmark Study Of How People Consume Video Across Various Platforms And Locations


The Council for Research Excellence (CRE), an independent forum of media industry research experts created by The Nielsen Company, announced today that it will commission a year-long study by Ball State University’s Center for Media Design (CMD) to observe how individuals consume traditional and emerging video platforms inside and outside the home.

The Video Consumer Mapping Study, to be conducted jointly by CMD and Sequent Partners, a brand and media metrics consultancy, is intended to establish how media—especially television and video—are consumed across multiple platforms, in order to develop best practices in the area of video media measurement.

To conduct the Video Consumer Mapping Study, researchers will directly observe the activities of sample participants, recording them, with computer assistance, in 10-second intervals throughout their waking day. These observers will categorize participants’ media exposure within the context of their daily activities, location and attention. A sample of 350 people will be measured twice over a six-month period in five major markets: Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago and Seattle.

In addition to that core sample, another 100 people, located in the Indianapolis market, will be observed both before and after the Media Acceleration Process, a research method developed by Ball State and Sequent Partners that will help to anticipate adoption and usage of emerging technologies and their impact on existing technologies.

The decision to proceed with a comprehensive study of media usage follows upon the successful completion of a pilot study conducted by Ball State and Sequent Partners in 2007. That study demonstrated that observational techniques can capture a respondent’s usage for the entire day and that it is possible to include in the study all relevant consumer segments, including high-tech and ethnically diverse respondents.

The Council for Research Excellence was created by The Nielsen Company in 2005, via a dedicated $2.5 million R&D fund. To date, Nielsen has committed $7.5 million to the Council, which serves as an independent forum for Nielsen to gain greater insights and to ensure that client priorities are reflected in Nielsen’s R&D spending.

“The migration of video usage beyond traditional television is an increasingly important issue for media companies, advertisers and their agencies,” said Paul Donato, Chief Research Officer for The Nielsen Company. “In a world where people increasingly watch programming online, on mobile devices and outside the home, this study will help us better understand how people are changing the way they consume media so that we can make informed decisions on how to measure it.”

“On behalf of Steve Sternberg (Magna Global), who served as co-chair through the completion of the pilot study, and the Media Consumption and Engagement Committee, we are thrilled to be partnering with Ball State and Sequent Partners,” said Shari Anne Brill, Senior Vice President and Director of Programming at Carat. “This groundbreaking study will give us a detailed blueprint of consumers’ access of media content across all screens, platforms and locations throughout their waking day. The addition of the acceleration component will shed light on which platforms are more likely to gain consumer acceptance along with how these technologies will impact media usage behavior. These research findings will also help to identify (and possibly close) the gaps in Nielsen’s video measurement systems. Separately, we would like to thank Nielsen for its ongoing support of the CRE and its financial commitment to a study that none of us could afford to execute individually.”

“The breadth and depth of the insights delivered by our observational method when applied on this scale will make a real and lasting contribution to the industry’s understanding of how media consumption and use is evolving,” said Mike Bloxham, Director, Insight and Research at Ball State’s Center for Media Design. “The findings will provide an important platform for analysis and debate as the Council pursues its mission to inform future best practices in cross-platform video measurement. Ball State and Sequent Partners are extremely proud to be working with the Council in this capacity on such a major and groundbreaking study.”


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