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Attention more important than attendance, says BBC Research & Planning head

03-December-2004
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Attention more important than attendance, says BBC Research & Planning head

Viewer segmentation, the channel’s positioning in a viewer’s life and the difference that presence of a channel makes to the advertiser – that is what BBC World is aiming to find out. In an attempt to touch the qualitative issues of TV research and to comprehend the media habits and perceptions of the Indian news viewers, the channel has executed surveys that not only measure the kind of news viewers and what they seek but also advertising effectiveness on news channels.

Sharing more on the reasons behind the research, Jeremy Nye, Head, Research and Planning, said, “Presently, due to research avoidance and media fragmentation, media measurement is becoming harder. Media measurement today measures attendance and not attention, which is more important.”

He shared that a few issues with the ratings system today are factors like one news channel gets half of its AB adult result from a single respondent. Apart from this, there are other factors like fragmentation, break audience measurement and the likes that make it important to look at points apart from ratings.

He explained the need to explore media brands and its impact. As per him, the brand image differs sharply for a channel and effects sponsorship messages. Getting specific to the news segment, he mentioned that measuring viewers’ media consumption shows that news gives a sense of belonging. It influences the viewer at various levels like – professional status besides cosmopolitan and enlightened and social status.

Viewers even exhibit a hierarchy of news, where basic news leads to key events with analysis right on top. He explained how the new consumer was often a traveller as well and how the channel aimed at targeting this segment. He concluded by saying that BBC World’s viewer was largely the young opinion former – the viewer was characterised as an activist, enthusiast, diverse, highly connected and discriminating amongst other facets.

Nye also expressed the channel’s intention of taking the survey to another level as International India survey. Dezma de Melo, senior research manager, BBC World delved into the IM BBC World Adwatch, which aims at analysing the advertising effectiveness on a channel and hence presenting a picture beyond gross rating points.

The study examined factors like response to an advert, likeability and relevance and a crucial parameter for effective advertising. An interesting factor that came across in this study was that viewers didn’t believe in celebrity ads, they liked ads that were relevant to them.

Melo said, “The attention level is lower and hence ad avoidance is higher when a family is viewing the channel vis-à-vis an individual. The survey shows that amongst the whole plethora of news channels, viewers sit through ads on BBC World, DD News and CNN.”

She shared that the brand value of media as a brand created impact for the message and here, BBC World consisted of attributes like accurate news, shaping opinion and presenting unbiased news.

While this part of the research was executed by Hansa Research, the second part that is news viewer segmentation was done by IMRB. Here she brought out how news viewer was divided into astute – the go-getters, self acclaimed intellectuals – supercilious, vociferous, evolved – thinkers, news evaluator, generalists – hard workers, minimalists – those wanting to make fast money (who form the largest section of Indian news viewers) and detached – low self esteem, low interest in news. The largest of these are the minimalists and the lowest the detached.

The study further showed that on various media habit parameters like most favoured news channel, satisfaction, BBC World scored substantially with the evolved viewers.

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