CRE Sets Social Media, TV Viewing Study

The Council for Research Excellence selects Keller Fay Group, Nielsen, Nielsen Life360, NM Incite and Bluefin Labs to participate.

The Council for Research Excellence (CRE) said today that it will conduct a multi-pronged study to help determine how social media interaction impacts television viewing.

The study will encompass three simultaneous efforts:

  • A quantitative survey, conducted by word-of-mouth research/consulting firm Keller Fay Group, of up to 1,600 participants recruited by Nielsen, all checking in multiple times daily over the course of a week via a mobile app.
  • A social media analytics project undertaken by NM Incite — a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey that provides social insights — with social TV analytics for this project provided by Bluefin Labs.
  • Ethnographies provided by Nielsen’s digital ethnography unit Nielsen Life360, for which 200 panelists will record media/technology usage for seven consecutive days using their own smartphones or Nielsen-provided phones. A subset of users will provide videos to bring their social media and TV engagement to life.

An academic team led by Dr. Peter Fader, professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and co-director of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative, will work with Keller Fay, Nielsen, NM Incite and Bluefin Labs to review the data collected from the quantitative and analytics portions of the study.

The CRE seeks answers to these questions among others:

  • In the Quantitative phase:
    • How do social media interact with television viewing and with other information contact points?
    • How do the social media and television viewing behaviors of so-called “super-connectors” — those in the top tier in usage of social-media sites — compare with other viewers’ behaviors?
  • In the Analytics phase:
    • What insights do social-media conversations provide about television viewing behaviors?
    • What are key topics of discussion about television programming in social media?
    • What drives positive and negative social media discussions related to programming?
  • In the Ethnography phase:
    • What are the real-time viewing behaviors — including time spent and concurrent media use — when social networks are part of the viewing experience?
    • What attitudes and motivations underlie the usage of one platform over another for TV engagement? What are the key differences in what people say vs. what they actually do?
    • What are the “triggers” of activity — including needs, benefits and methods used?

“We will gain insights about new consumer behaviors that have evolved as social media has become more connected to television viewing,” said Beth Rockwood, SVP, market resources, Discovery Communications, and chair of the CRE’s Social Media Committee. “This learning will allow us to better understand how viewing patterns are changing and how measurement of those behaviors can be improved. Since no single approach is likely to provide the full picture, we felt it best to study behaviors simultaneously from three different perspectives. In addition to learning about social media and television, we will also gain more insight about the research methods employed.”

The study is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012.

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