Thinking Inside the Box Phase 1: A Viewer’s Perspective: What is Television?

We’re excited to be able to unveil the first phase of our research – Thinking Inside the Box. We commissioned the Dipsticks Research Group (DRG) to explore the medium of TV, what it means to viewers and how they consume and perceive the content delivered within the TV environment.

Through this research we sought to identify changes in viewer behaviour, their attitudes towards personalised advertising and the impact of screen size on how the advertising message resonates.

In a special hour long webinar on 21st May, DRG’s Phoebe Casey-Miller presented the findings joined by GroupM’s Brian Wieser, who provided a current TV market view. Thank you to those who joined the live session.

If you missed it or couldn’t make it, you can catch up and watch the recording of the session here.

We ran out of time to answer all of your questions in the Q&A. Here are the ones we missed and the answers from our experts:

Do we see copy length difference preferences exist between addressable vs broadcast, SVOD vs BVOD?

Clive PageHead of Data, Product & Analytics, GroupM Nexus: In the main, we are seeing the same copies being used between Linear and BVOD. BVOD probably has a greater percentage of 30s than Linear, partly because breaks are typically shorter, so there is less pressure to get away a shorter time length; partly due to there being a non-standardised pricing model in BVOD for time length factoring, so 20s and 30s typically cost the same; and partly because break scheduling is less advanced in BVOD, so things like bumpers and top and tail formats (where differing time lengths are often used) are not widely supported.

What will the neuroscience part or research involve?

Phoebe Casey-Miller, Research Manager, DRG: The neuroscience experiment has been set up to explore 2 hypothesise; 1) Addressable TV adverts are more engaging for viewers than adverts that aren’t ‘addressed’ to those individuals. 2) Adverts / content viewed on the big screen is more engaging than viewing on the smaller screen. The results include a combination of behavioural and physiological measures.

With more viewers switching to streaming services such as Netflix, Britbox and recently Disney +, all seeing huge increases in subscription due to the current situation, how long before its a real worry due to the fact all these services have no form of advertising and this seems to be a trend with these services, do you think this will have to change eventually as steaming takes an even bigger chunk of the TV market?

Brian Wieser, Global President, Business Intelligence, GroupM:  I think the worry will depend on how aggressively non-streaming services invest in programming consumers want to watch. If new services account for, let’s say, 20% of spending on programming you would expect some number perhaps approaching 20% of viewing to go to them if incumbent networks kept their spending at a constant level. If incumbents cut their spending they will lose more share; if they increase it they will lose less.

Was there a feeling that people are frustrated with the fragmented landscape (i.e. linear, VOD, SVOD, AVOD)?

Phoebe Casey-Miller:  In some people, yes. For some though it’s seen as a real positive, wide choice and lots of content to fit different viewing moments or needs, people talk about SVOD (driven by thoughts on Netflix) as having a wide range of choice and that’s a driver for viewing – in my opinion this implies that choice in one place is positive, but not necessarily choice spread across a wide range of places.For some, it did emerge that this is a bit of a challenge (i.e. choosing what to watch amongst such a big choice or never having the time to watching all of this content so just sticking to linear as it’s ‘easier’). I think this is something that would be interesting to explore as more SVOD / AVOD services become available and the fragmentation becomes greater – especially if people have to make decisions over which services to pay for as they can’t pay for them all.

Is there a view on the shared viewing factor on VoD big screen TV format. Currently it’s at 1.6 – do we see that increasing?

Clive Page:  BVOD viewing factors (the number of people watching the programme together) will differ based on a number of factors – the type of home, the content viewed, the time of day, etc. The evidence we have seen so far is that it is higher than that of Linear TV. I would suggest that this could increase with the uptick in adoption of BVOD from older audiences, as they become more technically aware, in whose group the co-viewing is typically greater.

As production of TV shows are currently closed, viewers seem to be shifting to Netflix/Prime to view older / wider content. When everything is back up and running, would you say that those viewers may not shift back to standard broadcasts as they are now see SVOD as the go to for content?

Harry Harcus, UK MD, GroupM Nexus: We think viewing behaviours will be altered as people follow the content that they want to watch in the ways in which they want to watch it. Therefore, if popular and desirable content starts to flow again from the broadcasters then eyes will follow. However economics of funding and commissioning new content are therefore significant in determining who will win in the end. BBC3 moving back to linear from digital off the back of rising youth viewership for shows such as Fleabag and Normal People is a great example of this.