“Do I dare disturb the universe?” T.S. Elliott asked. I say yes—with innovative, ground breaking, data-centric research that proves value to the viewer and ROI to the customer.
The weeks leading into the CTAM Insights conference on June 17 in Chicago included Internet week, which commenced on June 6 with Tablet Revolution, followed by Mitch Oscar’s MPG Collaborative Alliance and the ARF (Advertising Research Foundation) Audience Measurement Conference. In each meeting, the focus and future of the media landscape was discussed. And each from a slightly different perspective and often projecting wildly divergent results.
Some of the takeaways from Internet Week were that Facebook could emerge as the imminent measurement currency; that consumers were ready for the ASQ ad model (where they choose to view the ads they want); that to agencies, “demographics” are not necessarily age and gender; and that standard ad lengths are going the way of the dodo bird.
During week two of the ARF and then at CTAM Insights, the focus was on the following: cross-platform measurement, the relatively small penetration (and impact) of the Tablet and a slow but perceptible evolution into “Tradiginal” Media—where old and young media blend and transform the landscape. It was not the revolution of the previous week; it was more of an evolution.
Any yet, despite the degree to which one media platform was touted over another, the consensus over the fortnight was that the future belonged to the creative, the nimble and the data innovators. At CTAM Insights, Rishad Tobaccowala of VivaKi spoke of Data Poetry—where data becomes more and more important, but the sheer amount of it will require a deft and creative hand to make it useful and understandable. There is a difference between data information and insight. “Data data everywhere” he intoned, just like the poetic Ancient Mariner.
So using the Data Poetry analogy, I ask as T.S. Elliott’s J. Alfred Prufrock did, “And how should I begin?” In fact, I begin by asking a range of expert media researchers the same question: “Where will you focus your research efforts over the next two years?”
David Poltrack of CBS said, “Our primary goal is focused on the belief that every viewer counts. We want to have all of our viewers measured for all of their viewing on all devices, in a manner that captures their full value to advertisers.”
Jack Wakshlag of Turner said, “Our focus is on cross-platform metrics and identifying opportunities for our strong brands on all platforms.”
Daniel Fischer of Solve It Group said, “My firm’s current focus is dual: understanding the tablet platform (mostly iPad), including supporting app developers, and applying cognitive neuroscience based techniques to the editing of short form video—show opens, promos, other audience flow transitions.”
Angelina Li of AHL Associates Inc said, “One of the biggest operator issues for marketers and researchers (and there has to be a dialogue between the two) is how to position the services offered. Why should people buy cable or high-speed data services from you? What are the features and benefits, such as programming, that resonate with customers and potential customers? How attractive are the benefits and features we offer and how do they compare with the competition and their focus? What is the market share situation? All these feed back to how we establish a sustainable and profitable business model going forward. In summary, we should look at matters that would affect market share and new issues to be faced as researchers and marketers.”
Todd Cunningham of MTV Networks said, “Measurement that goes beyond static, point-in-time HH-level reporting and focuses on individual’s real-time cross-screen content consumption.”
These responses underscore the myriad opportunities and challenges for the research community in the short term. For a fuller picture of the range of opinions out there in the research community, please view two videos—one from the ARF and one from CTAM Insights—on www.WeislerMedia.blogspot.com
(Charlene Weisler, founder of Weisler Media LLC, is a media research executive specializing in broadcast, cable, off-platform, non-linear and broadband. She can be reached through her research blog at www.WeislerMedia.blogspot.com.)


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