« Screw Metrics, Just Care | Main | What's Your Story? (Is Marketing Glory) »


Charles Frith

Quality post. I've been asking the same questions myself. I even think the whole context of TV is changing. I like it on in the background as a 'radio' when I'm surfing the net (news programs especially) and I question deeply the engagement of young folk who are SMS'ing or just generally paying low attention to content/commercials.

It's TV, but not as we know it Jim!

James Cherkoff

Thanks Charles. The points you make are now common concerns, aren't they. However, without a decent new metrics system, it's difficult for the industry to make the leap. The only ray of light appears to be the VNU/Arbitron/P&G collaboration - Apollo. But even that seems to be moving very slowly.


Frith, TV as a background radio, great description, that's how I use it.

Nice post, thanks.

David Brennan

I love the way the shift in TV consumption has been described - and those shifts are taking TV into places it has never been before. It IS TV but not as we know it - but it doesn't mean the end of the model. I say this for the following reasons;
1. There will always be a market for well-produced, lean back entertainment delivered to all screens, but with the bulk of access still being the main set with the 42" plasma screen and home cinema sound and vision (increasingly HD). If this isn't susutained by advertising, ultimately it will have to be paid for, and given the choice the vast majority of consumers always opt for the former! (BTW, if the model is broken, somebody forgot to tell the consumers, who are spending record amounts on TV technology and access!)
2. We should not underestimate the power of the context - people ALLOW TV ads into their lives because of it and will therefore allow the ads to play out and tell the brand 'story' in ways other media cannot BUT once that brand narrative is set, other media (including online) can work off the back of it to increase their effectiveness (witness the relationship between TV activity and branded search!)
3. People engage with TV programmes (and ads) in ways no other media can compete with - I know, because we have just done a study where we observed people watching Tv in their own homes and after watching over 15,000 commercials in this way,I am convinced that the entertainment value of TV advertising can create engagement unlike anything else - not many media can boast people laughing, singing along, dancing & clapping, talknig about the products being advertised, playing 'guess the ad' games, mimicking tghe voice overs word perfectly....and the list goes on!
4. TV effectiveness has come under intense scrutiny in the last few years and - guess what - it is demonstrably more effective than ever at shifting product and changing hearts and minds. The recent IPA and Price Waterhouse Coopers studies are just the tip of the iceberg
5. And finally, all these new modes of viewing are increasing TV's flexibility, relevance, convenience, control and value - to the consumer and the advertiser.

James - I know you say you watch almost everything in timeshift mode - lots of people say the same thing - but when we discussed TV advertising you seemed to be well aware of too many of them NOT to have been exposed by the broadcast stream. And this leads to my final point - whatever metrics we use cannot be based on claimed behaviour - because it is always wrong and for some activities (e.g. sex and TV viewing) seriously skewed. I think the way is to have a metrics system that is based on consumers not medai platforms, and a range of methodologies to allow us to follow, observe and quedstion those consumers in the most relevant and appropriate ways, but where every media platform is on a level playing field.

Phew - sermon over!

James Cherkoff

Thanks for dropping by and joining the discussion David, much appreciated.

The subject is a devilishly complex one but I take your points on board. Sooo the question is, why do you think these messages aren't getting through to the advertisers?

Btw, of course, I am aware of many ads - good and bad - because it's part of my professional business. But trust me (almost) everything is time-shifted and ads are x60. No mistake in my claimed behaviour there ;-).

James Cherkoff

I'd be very interested in how other people 'do' TV....? Anyone care to start?


Here's how we do TV: MS Media Center (thought it was dead?) rips all our viewing as it records into formats for other computers and on my aging Nokia mobile. All formats of a show are deleted when we zap the master recording. Almost everything is time-shifted (even big games), and we skip (almost) all ads, except for the Superbowl where we skip everything else. Recently watching presidential debates it has been fun to keep an eye on the back-channel (e.g. on Twitter), and that wider social aspect would be about our only reason not to time-shift.

James Cherkoff

Excellent, thanks Ed. Sounds amazing! Anyone else?


In my house TV has become steadily less significant over time. We probably watch about an hour a day average but often that's time shifted or it might well be a film on Sky which doesn't have ad breaks. I think it's a little ridiculous to suggest that people have any kind of decent take out from an ad seen at 30 times the speed. When we do watch, we're often on the internet at the same time or reading or talking. Personally I think the degree of attention that people think TV commands is overrated, as seems to be suggested by this recent study by BiG Research which found that only 5.5% of viewers regularly attend to commercials:
TV is undoubtedly a powerful medium but I do believe that that power is eroding significantly over time as a result of changes in lifestyle and culture

James Cherkoff

Thanks Neil and for the link. Indeed, no one is saying that TV isn't powerful. However, some realism about its role is an important first step in its use.

Who's next? Any Limewire heads out there?

The comments to this entry are closed.