- Thinkbox app for iPad
- Getting Started on TV
- TV Effectiveness
- TV at a Glance
- TV Technology
- TV Planning
- TV Toolbox
- TV Ad Galleries
- Screen Life: The View from the Sofa’
- Tellyporting: travelling to TV's near future
- Payback 3: ad success in tough times
- The link between creativity and effectiveness
- TV Response: the new rules
- The Truth about Youth: TV and young people
- TV Together: a very social medium
- Neuroscience: creativity, media placement and the brain
- Me-TV: the future of on-demand
- Upside to downturn: sharpening your ad payback
- TV sponsorship: a brand’s best friend
- TV & Online: Better together
- Generation Whatever
- Secret Life of Students
- DTRs - A Love Story
- Engagement Study
- Shareholder Research
- 3rd Party Research
- Audience Measurement and Data
- The Thinkboxes
- Case Studies
- Nickable Stuff
- Events and Training
- Hot Topics
- About Us
This work explored the shared viewing experience, the phenomenon of social networking in relation to TV and ultimately what it all means for advertisers.
TV is arguably one of the most social forms of media; people love to watch, discuss and enjoy TV together. This shared viewing aspect to TV is one of its greatest assets as an advertising medium. However, people's inherent need for interaction has now spilled over onto social networking sites such as Facebook, with new TV related groups and fan pages popping up on a daily basis.
Thus, our research was made up of two chapters. The shared viewing element examined the context of shared viewing and how this unique feature can be best exploited by practitioners. The second chapter looked at TV and social networking and the concept of the 'virtual sofa'. We explored social networking as a response vehicle for TV programmes and advertisers and developed ideas which may help broadcasters and advertisers maximise this relationship.
When commissioning our shared viewing research we wanted to deconstruct the key influences behind our need to share TV, the different viewer combinations, shared viewing contexts, the impact of advertising and the role of technology.
Initially, we analysed BARB data through RSMB for two comparative periods in 2002 and 2008. This highlighted the areas that merited qualitative exploration and with the help of Work research, we conducted 12 in-home depth interviews. All homes were digital, half had DTRs (higher than the UK average) and a third also subscribed to HD channels. We looked at a mixture of different viewing groups - mother and kids, husband and wives, young couples etc. so we could identify how viewing differs by household composition.
From the groups, we discovered that life-stage was the major determinant of the type and quantity of shared viewing. As a result, we the re-interviewed the respondents, splitting them into group according to their life stage and delving into areas such as advertising in more detail. After all the fieldwork was conducted and the BARB data analysed, we recruited a group of clinical psychologists to examine the findings and frame them within academic theory.
The BARB data showed that shared viewing has remained consistent despite the proliferation of viewing technology (both in and out of home), our ability to time-shift content, and most importantly, a 16 per cent increase in the number of single households in the UK.
The data revealed that 52 per cent of our live viewing (including single households) is shared and time-shifted viewing is even higher at 56 per cent. Additionally, most shared viewing is with one other person - the optimum number for ad engagement according to our own Engagement Study.
Sharing TV was also key for kids and young adults; they are actually the most likely to share with other people.
The data also showed that we share more as the day progresses, particularly at the weekend, and that the vast majority of our evening viewing is conducted with other people present. We also discovered that life stage is the main influence on shared viewing habits are; couples with kids share 60 per cent of their viewing for example and it's the same for co-habiting couples with 65 per cent of their viewing shared. We identified that certain genres are good at getting people together in front of the TV. Reality, crime drama, factual documentaries and life-style were key genres that drove viewers to watch and interact with other members of their households.
The qualitative research identified 5 main principles of shared viewing, which were backed up by the psychologists and related strongly to our fundamental needs as human beings. The principles were:
- The need to unwind together - shared TV provides crucial 'down-time' together after a hectic day
- The need to be a family - love expressed in shared moments
- The need to enjoy together - pure pleasure and upbeat enjoyment
- The need to share - conformity and feeling like part of something
- The need to learn, develop and grow - learning, opinion forming and role playing
As human beings, we can't help but respond to TV and the power that AV content has on the brain is well documented. TV particularly stimulates the Hippocampus (the area associated with long term memory) and the Amygdala (emotions and feelings). In fact, viewing TV ads together heightens emotions and when we are, as the psychologists put it, emotionally aroused our memories are more vivid. These heightened emotions pave the way for interaction; the more we talk, the more we remember. We like to share a point of reference with our co-viewers and we form our opinions through discussion. However, these interactions are not always a conscious process. Either way, the processing is deeper when content is shared, meaning that advertisers benefit from the greater depth of mental activity that occur when ads are shared.
Shared viewing can now also lead straight to purchase. The consumption of both TV and online together - and potential to make a shared decision in front of the TV set - can lead to an instant purchase via the web.
We are certain that shared viewing is set to dominate viewing in the future, not only is the need to share innate, but technology is also extending the benefits of the shared experience. One of the main technological developments which is having a notable and positive effect on shared viewing is the Digital Television Recorder (DTR). People are recording, saving and watching content together. This in turn heightens the importance of the content as they are waiting for a mutually convenient time.
However, the benefits of technology do not stop at DTRs. Laptops, WIFI and mobiles are providing a 'virtual sofa' for viewers. The virtual sharing of TV programmes came out really strongly in the qualitative research with people discussing programmes on instant messenger, Facebook and SMS etc.
TV and social media
When embarking on the 2nd chapter of our research the primary aim of the study was to explore the relationship between TV and social networking. We wanted to delve into why viewers use Facebook, and to a lesser extent, other social networking sites as a forum to share and what opportunities this platform could provide for advertisers.
The approach to this chapter was wholly qualitative. We conducted 13, 45 minute depth interviews with respondents who were recruited via Facebook. They were all heavy Facebook users and had all used Facebook to engage with a TV programme or ad (either by joining an official or unofficial group or using an app).
Through the interviews, we determined that Facebook group choices came from three key start points; they were recommended by a friend, suggested by Facebook or actively found. Credibility also plays an important part in the decision process as content must be seen to be 'worth my while' and suitably reflective of personal taste and opinions.
We also identified the benefits viewers gained from participating with Facebook groups. Firstly, they felt that they created a deeper engagement as it formed a personal relationship with a TV programme, advert or brand beyond the realms of the broadcast stream. It also created loyalty as it perpetuated an interest in the show or brand in question. These groups are often used as a type of 'badging' - publicly defining individual tastes and differences to other users of Facebook. Finally, another benefit to joining in is the ability to use the groups as a form of catch-up, so users can stay in touch with what's been happening in their programme of choice without having to directly watch the content on either broadcast or replay services.
There were also varying behaviours from the group members. There was the silent partner who was a member of groups and fan sites but rarely visited the sites. There was also the browser who dabbles in the groups and kill time and the impulse visitor who visits when inspired and in the right mindset. Finally, there was the active joiner who proactively joins sites in order to participate and share their thoughts.
After we had examined the reasons behind why viewers use these Facebook groups we then explored what it all means for advertising. Through probing the respondents we identified three main types of commercial links between TV advertising and Facebook, these were:
- Advertising synergy - opportunities for advertisers to synchronise their TV spot with their Facebook ad delivery
- Sponsorship extension - opportunities for programme sponsors to become involved with fan groups
- Get more advertising - some adverts and advertisers have their own presence on Facebook
Sharing a medium is unique to TV (and to an extent, cinema) and the need to share TV is powerful and important - even for young people. Technology has liberated the shared TV experience, particularly through the proliferation of DTRs and laptops. As far as advertisers are concerned, sharing heightens emotions and deepens the ad-experience and the talkability aspect paves the way to brand interaction. As for TV and social media, such as Facebook, commercial opportunities most definitely exist for advertisers - although they are greatly under developed at present.