ComScore recently released some new findings about How Multi-screen Consumers are Changing Media Dynamics for the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM). The report examines survey results regarding cross-media consumption on the Internet, TV and mobile devices. Since they looked at online video a lot in the report I thought I might go over the results and try to make sense of them, if I can.
How Multi-Screen Consumers Are Changing Media Dynamics
As always I like to start with the methodology. Generally, these types of surveys have a fairly low number of respondents but comScore managed to get 10,000 participants with 1,000 being active mobile Internet users.
comScore developed a Multi-Screen panel of consumers who had access to TV, Internet and mobile devices. Panel households located in metropolitan areas of 22 states. comScore measured the audience size and composition for 10 networks and network groups (“media brands”) and 3 advertisers. The study was conducted over a five week period in Fall 2011.
They boiled the consumers down to three groups:
- Multi-screen – consumers who use content on two or more platforms of the three measured: TV, Internet, mobile
- Digital – consumers whouse the respective network/network group’s content on Internet, on mobile or both.
- Digital Only – consumers who use content on the Internet and/or on mobile but did not view that network/network group’s content on TV.
They also have some areas that are "TV Only" as well.
TV-only Users Still Dominant
During the five weeks that comScore did the study they found that, by far, TV-only users were the most dominant with 72% of the consumer respondents falling into that category. Multi-screen (17%) and Digital-only (11%) filled the rest of the chart.
While it shows that TV is clearly still the main way for consumers to interact with the brands in question, we need to remember that the brands in question were mostly TV networks to begin with.
comScore measured the audience size and composition for 10 networks and network groups (“media brands”) and 3 advertisers. The networks/network groups were comprised of 4 major broadcast networks and 6 major cable networks or networks groups.
The fact that the majority of consumers were TV-only interactions isn't really a big surprise given that almost all the brands they looked at were TV-based operations. What it really shows is that even then, one-in-four consumers interact with TV brands through digital means.
Now while those are all averages, there were some differences based on genre of content. They didn't give a full break down but did mention that Sports, News and Young Adult networks were as high a 31% for multi-screen with Internet and TV being the combo of choice. Some brands were as low as 3% as well (two of them). comScore offered a graph that showed the overall for each of the ten brands, but then never told us which brands they were so I didn't include it. We know that four of them were ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC (4 major broadcast networks) and the other 6 were major cable so probably USA, TNT, ESPN, CNN, and a couple others. It's most likely that the networks chose to remain anonymous so that any information from the report wouldn't affect their advertising, etc.
Some insight can be gleaned by looking at the CIMM participant list: A+E Networks, AT&T, Belo, CBS Corporation, Carat USA, Comcast Networks, ConAgra, Discovery Communications, Gannett, GroupM, Hearst, Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands, Microsoft, NBC Universal, News Corporation, Omnicom Media Group, P&G, PepsiCo, Publicis Groupe, Scripps Networks, Time Warner, Unilever, Viacom, and The Walt Disney Company.
comScore supposes it's a combination of those networks (sports, news, YA) making the content available online as well as creating added digital content to expand audience engagement online that brought so much digital interaction. It's sort of a 'duh' moment for them really. If there wasn't all that much digital content, what would respondents interact with digitally for further brand engagement?
When you look at what Cartoon Network is doing, for example, you'll get a good idea of what comScore meant, I think. Right at the top you can see they've got games, a shop, a community (forum), schedules and even full episodes.
Loyalty & Engagement Highest via Online Video and Multi-Screen
Now we get to the most interesting piece of the report, the fact that engagement and loyalty were highest when the consumers were viewing online video and multi-screen content. Something that goes to show the power of those particular types of media.
The chart is an Index of Minutes Spent Using TV and really it just shows that TV and Online Video Viewers watched more TV, I think.
By brand, seven of ten had a score higher than 100, showing that online video content boosts TV viewing time. The lowest score was 87 for a single brand and the other two were 97 and 99. However, in the three groups: TV consumers, Multi-screen and TV & Online Video (a weird break down, I know), the TV and Online group had the lowest number of TV minutes and the highest web minutes and highest online video minutes.
For Marketers and Advertisers
What all of this seemingly points to is the fact that if you're marketing content, you should be doing it in digital form because online video for TV content seems to extend the consumer's engagement. If you're an advertiser you can see that there are some definite groups beginning to form in the video consumer audience. There are those who are fairly well stuck on TV. The thing that they failed to report was group breakdown by age. I would think that would have been a given in this type of report. They also didn't give any kind of age breakdown whatsoever for the groups or for the research overall.
It sure would have been nice to see some demographic break out by age into each group for starters. Considering that it's basically a TV usage report, I have to wonder why the one graph had a digital only slice. Perhaps those are the cord-cutters who no longer watch actual TV but do watch TV content, online.
The methodology for Multi-Screen measurement needs to be designed to focus on the duplication between media. We need statistically reliable sample sizes to measure this duplication accurately and meaningfully.
I think this was comScore trying to expand their cross-platform reporting capabilities as they said, "The exploration of methodologies for TV set top box data processing was also an important part of the project." So, to me, it sounds like they had to struggle through some obvious roadblocks and that the way they measured in this study might not be directly related to later studies if they tweak the methods. However, we don't really know the methods as that's not fully disclosed.