Phase 6:Three Peaks

May 30th, 2013

Phase 6: Three Peaks! The sixth year of 1-3-9 Media lab looked at three peaks of engagement (Olympics/autumn viewing and Super Bowl)  and use of second screens and also addressed a long list of future related questions crafted by members at BBC council chambers in 2012.

Monitoring all activities across the sample of 50 + individuals in the US and the UK including families and housemates,  Phase 6 looked at broad based audience behaviour and use of complementary content apps on multiple devices focusing on peaks in engaging TV content.  Devices included the Slate/Galaxy/Surface/iPad/iPhone/Galaxy mobiles (smart phones and tablets) and a range of connected and Smart TV’s including; Samsung ES7000, Sony 3DTV, Panasonic Viera and some households had HDTV’s with YouView).

Emerging results were presented in draft to members in April 2013 and showed the most interesting and fast changing behaviour since the lab began in 2007. Members of 1-3-9 Media Lab received the latest 2013 Report with detail on audience engagement with content that was viewed privately vs. socially and reported on instances of sharing and interaction in and out of the home across screens and devices.

The focus of this latest phase of research addressed a list of future focused questions (crafted at BBC council chambers by Sky, Skype, Samsung, ITV, BBC and Microsoft) and also designed to address emerging interest by the industry in understanding viewing during peak engagement on high urgency content and propensity and type of interaction on second screens.

The report evidences rapid behavioural change particularly among children and parents.

Here are some very quick examples of a few of the many changes that are happening….this should provide clues in a broader sense on the rapid behavioural shifts between the audience.

Firstly among the youngest of children, there was increased appetite for access to multiple devices for longer periods of time - tablets or phones and TV.

Secondly there is little appetite for synergy across screens by children - for example three year old wanting favoured long form relaxing content on the TV coupled with active programmes on the tablet a similar pattern emerged for the older children aged 10 and 12 collecting together to watched favoured content on the TV whilst gaming on the tablets.

This is the appetite as we see for the immediate future – dynamic viewing on the second screen when the main screen is on feeding the compromise viewing that is also very much loved but viewed differently.

Thirdly we found a difference between US and UK child rearing that may be interesting to explore with quant research.  It involved a difference in  etiquette around TV where UK parents of children preferred children to use one screen or the other and this differed to US parents who allowed their three, five and seven year olds access to tablets similar as one might have been allowed an etch sketch whilst watching the TV.  Indeed children in the UK use of second screen in front of the TV were more restricted by parents – “it’s one or the other” and children in the US were found to be allowed to have ‘greater access ‘ to both the main and second screens. Parents in the US felt safe with the child friendly tablet – attitudes may have been due to scarcity factors, but researchers believed it was mainly due to etiquette and learning.

Similarly, dominance by key individuals (Dads) remains a key barrier for access and exploration on the Smart TV - but continues to drive exploration by other members in the household, satiating their content needs off laptops and tablets to access favoured Netflix and YouTube content or occupying themselves with gaming.

For further detail contact

Upcoming Conferences: Sarah Pearson (MD) will be speaking at the European Broadcasting Union Technical Assembly: Strategic Focus Stream on June 13th 2013.

Look out for further information on ACB’s new exhibition area in the Future Zone at IBC in September, 2013!

1-3-9 members meeting April 9 2013

April 18th, 2013

Experts working in the TV industry including senior strategists are fully aware that there are many limitations around research methods that restrict understandings on future behaviour. For this reason members including Sky, Samsung, BBC, Microsoft met at the annual meeting at BBC Council Chambers in March 2012 and crafted a list of questions for the industry neutral 1-3-9 lab to address.

Since then ACB has conducted three separate in and out of home video ethnographic studies to answer these future focused questions and deliver the best insights based on actual audience behaviour on multiple screens with all individuals carefully hot housed to be a little ahead of the curve.

On April 9 2013, the research results from the sixth year of the future focused Longitudinal Media Lab were released exclusively in draft format to the members. Members received a full written report and three presentations, each with illustrative clips of audience behaviour in the UK and US with a particular focus on peak engagement.

The event on April 9th was named 1-3-9 Phase 6: Three Peaks and the results looked at appetites around second screen use and also three moments of high engagement by audiences in the UK and in the US.

The results were well received by members who included design engineers, planners, regulators, product development experts, content managers and researchers and all came together and created another draft list of questions that remain unanswered. This will form the basis for the next phase of research.

Members work together in the spirit of crafting the best audience research that is industry neutral.

ACB offers confidentiality to all members and for a membership fee the member is assigned an experienced researcher who in addition to answering broad questions will closely look at specific questions that maybe of interest.

For details regarding planning for phase 7 please contact ACB.

For now ACB is conducting additional analysis drawing on the footage for members and preparing a portal where members and others can access the ACB reports.

ACB March Update

March 18th, 2013

ACB has had a fantastic year and it’s only March 2013. In the next few weeks we hope to deliver our members the results of Phase 6 – completing eight months of study over three viewing periods.

This years research was designed to address the key questions raised by senior (content, product and sales) staff within Samsung, BBC, Skype, Sky, Microsoft. So we are at edit stage with the sixth report on future viewing behaviour entitled – Three Peaks: Content Drivers of Engagement and we are looking forward to delivering the results to members at their event soon.

In January we begun brilliantly by successfully taking the insights from phase 6a and b captured in the UK and then rolling out a study in the US.

Amazing families that we studied for nine days up to the Super Bowl capturing asynchronous and synchronous apps and multiple device usage.  Wrapping up the interviews, it was hard to leave NY and Connecticut where we had piloted. With the help of our various partners including UKTI, this successful research product that delivers our clients the most amazing insights was of interest to existing and new clients stateside – from the insights around what was on the five year old’s iPad to his Dad’s iPhone and Android tablet whilst knowing what was on the family TV – it was such a success story.

As for viewing - many differences to the UK but we’ll keep those insights to our members for a while yet!

So it was a week after the Super Bowl that I left my colleagues in the office working hard and cross comparing with London 2012 app usage and flew back to the states – this time CA at the invitation of the Hollywood Post Alliance no less. Their interest was multiple devices but also mainly distance. The research received much attention in the specialised industry press including fun but super relevant article in Technology age and then some follow up from The Economist regarding the interest. We are hoping we can help them as they work with these distances. Members and non members are already asking about customised studies and Phase 7.

Lets find the new emerging needs – there is no better way!

Happy New Year from the team at ACB!

January 2nd, 2013

As we begin 2013 the team at ACB can look back over a busy and productive year of research. Along with a series of high-profile appearances at a number of industry events, including, most recently, the TV Of Tomorrow New York Intensive on December 10th, and the Oliver & Ohlbaum senior executive briefing event on December 4th, ACB has also completed capture for the main part of the sixth phase of the 1-3-9 Media Lab.

The emergent insights from the 1-3-9 Longitudinal Media Lab can be considered in light of the discussions that were taking place at these recent industry events. Below we have responded to key questions that were raised at the events.

1. There is a need for a holistic approach to media measurement

While measurement metrics are continually improving, there is a general feeling of dissatisfaction within the industry around the value that can be gained from research that relies entirely on self-reported behaviour, or that cannot reveal how all devices are used together. At the TVOT New York Intensive, panellists at the ‘Measuring the Multiplatform viewer – Challenges and Solutions’ session criticised the industry and admitted it needed to face up to a major problem, suggesting that a bolder and more active approach to audience measurement was required.

The unique methodology employed by ACB ensures that its research is based on actual behaviour observed from footage captured on discreet cameras while participants are in their natural context, at home. This avoids self-reporting biases which may exaggerate or distort behaviour around TV and other devices. Additionally, ACB has endeavoured to capture from all screens that participants can access since the first phase of the 1-3-9 Media Lab. Recently, this has involved the introduction of new methods of capture to provide ACB’s researchers with a feed from mobile devices such as the Microsoft Surface and the latest Apple devices. In the current phase of the lab, all participants in the 1-3-9 sample have been using mobile devices, and ACB has been able to observe this behaviour every step of the way.

For these reasons, the results from the 1-3-9 Media Lab can be considered truly holistic, overcoming wherever possible the pitfalls that can often beset media measurement metrics. In Phase 6, the lab has provided unique insights into the user journey across devices, revealing, for example, when TV content prompts a viewer to follow up with a mobile device. Not only was such behaviour common during the high-urgency TV event of the Olympics – Autumn TV content has been eliciting interactivity, too, especially with the proliferation of apps such as Shazam and Zeebox on our participants’ mobile devices, that allow easy access to additional information.

This year, ACB’s Mobile Actual Behaviour Ethnographic Lab (MABEL) will deliver a quant perspective on a wider sample of up to 200 participants to provide insights into new behaviour on smart phones and tablets, to complement existing research into TV audience behaviour. At the Oliver & Ohlbaum event, Guy Phillipson, CEO of the IAB, asked the panel whether they felt that the tablet or the mobile was king when it came to multiple screen use. In response, research was cited that referred to how comfortable the devices were to use and how easily the device fitted into the user’s hand. However, ACB would assert that there will be no ‘one size fits all’ model when it comes to multi-screen behaviour in front of the TV. That is why it is of paramount importance that the approach is holistic – taking into consideration all devices – when assessing future audience behaviour.

2. What effect is multi-screening having on the way audiences consume TV content?

At the Oliver & Ohlbaum event, Tess Alps, chief executive of Thinkbox, described recent research by Decipher that had revealed how having access to additional screens in front of the TV actually kept viewers in the TV area for longer. This implies that the experience of multi-screening adds value to the traditional experience of TV consumption. ACB can support this insight – as early as Phase 2 (2008) ACB found similar results. In this phase, ACB added more laptops to the sample so that all participants would have access to a second screen. Having this option enabled participants to access private content in the social space – often for the first time. For example, teenagers who were uninterested in their parents’ viewing choices on the main TV used the laptop to view their personal content choices on demand, sometimes using headphones, so that they could remain in the social space with their family.

The increasing presence of mobile devices provides more ways for families to compromise and access their preferred content, in the social viewing area, in front of the TV. Far from taking viewers away from the main TV, multiple screens are actually adding value to what might otherwise be a less enjoyable experience, and enabling households to preserve the all-important social aspect of TV consumption.

The gaming industry in particular is keen to foster second screen behaviour during gaming sessions, and this has been demonstrated with the recent introduction of Xbox Smart Glass and the Wii U. At the TVOT New York Intensive, Mark Budash and Gerard Kunkel of Xbox described, during their demonstration of Smart Glass, how their vision is to develop the user habit of reaching for the tablet or smart phone to control their gaming device. For Xbox, this habit represents an opportunity to reach the audience in a new way, with complementary content designed for the second screen, synchronised with the main screen content, during gaming, film and music consumption on the console.

ACB have been studying gaming behaviour throughout the phases of the 1-3-9 Media Lab. The introduction of Xbox Kinect in Phase 5 brought about an unprecedented enthusiasm for gaming even in participants who had never before shown any interest. Now, in Phase 6, the focus will be on the appetite observed in participants during gaming and VoD viewing on their gaming devices for complementary content on second screens. There is a growing focus on the way multiple screens will influence how viewers consume TV content, whether that primary screen is being used for viewing, gaming, or for another activity, and ACB’s results will provide a reliable indication of future behaviour.

3. How can Zeebox and other interactive second screen apps drive behaviour that can be monetised and how will Tcommerce be integrated into future behaviour?

A discussion at the TVOT New York Intensive, led by experienced innovator and Zeebox founder Anthony Rose, focussed on how the continuing success of interactive second screen apps can create an environment of unprecedented engagement, where purchasing behaviour can be driven. Elsewhere, commentators envisaged ideal future scenarios where purchasing behaviour can be facilitated by the industry from the moment the customer experiences an advert, through to the purchase of the product. This scenario illustrates how by ensuring all devices function together seamlessly, the consumer experience is not only improved, but purchasing behaviour may actually be actively encouraged. This issue was also raised at the Oliver & Ohlbaum briefing, with attendees keen to understand the implications of current appetites for interactive transactions on Smart TVs.

As previously discussed, many second screen apps are built on assumptions about the future viewer that are not yet entirely reliable. For example, during the 2012 US Super Bowl, Coca Cola built an app on the assumption that 60% of viewers would be using a second screen during the event. While their gamble paid off, not least from a PR perspective, there is an etiquette around TV viewing, and apps need to be developed with this in mind, binding the viewers’ interest to the TV, rather than creating any form of friction that may lead them to switch off or over on the main set.

ACB’s observations from Phase 5 and 6 around how customers use apps on both the Smart TV and on mobile devices have shown that the appetite for interactivity is fragile. Potential customers can be permanently deterred if the app disrupts the TV viewing experience, especially during high urgency viewing with content such as live sports. The experience needs to be seamless and immediately beneficial to the customer if it is to stand any chance of routine adoption.

Throughout Phase 6, researchers have been closely monitoring the situations where participants are driven to use an app to make a transaction. The appetite exists – ACB has observed participants using apps like Shazam to find out about songs that they want to buy. The results from Phase 6 will discuss how ACB expects participants to respond to the Tcommerce and interactive advertising of the future.

4. Highly produced broadcasting vs. user-generated content on the TV

With the drive for increased interactivity and involvement with TV content, will the TV of the future be more of a user-generated affair? With innovative new products like Spreecast (where viewers can chat with the stars and producers of their favourite shows), and Theatrics (where fans film their own storylines to be incorporated into their favourite online shows), the debate focused on how this new direction for the industry presents a challenge to broadcasters who may not be ready to relinquish total control over their content output.

With apps like YouTube already bringing user generated content to our participants Smart TVs, ACB can observe the current appetite for user-generated content on their main screen. We have already noted in Phase 5 and the Olympics study, which formed the initial part of Phase 6, how participants prioritise personalised content, including home videos and pictures, over any other type of content viewing on their main TVs. ACB will also observe how the use of social networking sites to directly interact with celebrities might be an accurate measure of the future appetite for a more immersive and inclusive TV environment.

5. Set-top boxes vs. Smart TVs

Much discussion has centred on the rivalry between set-top boxes and smart TVs in the delivery of video on demand content to the main screen. However, it was noted at the TV of Tomorrow New York Intensive that while Smart TVs are currently in only 1 in 10 broadband-enabled homes, ownership is highly correlated with pay TV homes, with around half of smart TV owners also having Sky. At the Oliver & Ohlbaum event, research presented suggested that PVRs could reach a penetration rate of 100% as soon as 2016. What then will be the implications for Smart TVs, and more broadly, TV advertising, if all viewers have the ability to time shift and fast-forward through adverts?

The future-focused 1-3-9 sample contains homes with both smart TVs and pay TV packages, as well as homes with the latest set-top boxes including YouView. This enables ACB to draw a comparison between the behaviour around TV VoD content between these two types of household. Will having access to a broader range of VoD content in the Smart TV households drive a corresponding increase in consumption? And which source will be higher in the participants’ hierarchy of choice?

Related to this was an interest expressed at the Oliver & Ohlbaum event in the impact that Ultraviolet might have on movie consumption from Pay TV sources. A lack of clarity was evident at this event around the capabilities of the Ultraviolet product, with Jeremy Michaels, Oliver & Ohlbaum consultant, explaining that the service offered a ‘digital locker’ in which users could store their movie collection. This year, ACB will be analysing the impact of Ultraviolet as the product becomes more widely accessible (all Blu-ray discs are due to be Ultraviolet enabled in early 2013). As well as observing how having access to an online movie collection via any device might impact consumption of movies through Pay TV packages, ACB will also ascertain customer perceptions of the product, analysing how effective Ultraviolet’s marketing strategies may be. It is our prediction that the service may be more readily adopted if the brand’s distinctiveness is emphasised, alongside the emotional need that the product fulfils.

ACB’s progress with Phase 6 of the 1-3-9 Media Lab

November 16th, 2012

ACB are now in the field for the sixth phase of the 1-3-9 Media Lab, following on from a study on audience behaviour during the London 2012 Olympics that has now been completed and delivered to members.
The rationale behind Phase 6 is driven by a need for grounded research into audience behaviour during emotional peaks of engagement driven by high-urgency TV viewing. ACB attended the TV Of Tomorrow Show in San Francisco in June this year, where there was a lively debate around the conditions that are required to drive engagement and interactivity during TV viewing. There is an appetite within the industry to understand what it takes to drive audience engagement and participation in a reliable way. ACB has designed Phase 6 to provide a grounded and realistic comparison between audience behaviour during event TV viewing and during regular TV viewing.
Now that we have observed how our participants interacted with TV content during the Olympics, we are currently in the process of analysing their behaviour during regular TV viewing to provide a comparison. As has always been the case throughout the phases of the 1-3-9 Media Lab, the early-majority sample has been hot-housed with the latest technology, including 2012 Smart TVs, a variety of tablets and smart phones and relevant apps.
We’re already starting to see some extremely interesting behaviour around the technology and are expecting this to develop of the course of our capture period, which we are due to complete in mid-December. From then onwards, ACB will be busy finalising the analysis of the project to provide an in-depth and future focused comparison, looking at how the technology is succeeding or failing to enhance the viewing experience. In March 2013, these findings will be delivered to members, who will gain a deeper understanding of how and why participants interact with TV content, and how the insights from the Olympics research can be leveraged to drive interactivity and engagement during regular TV viewing.

Moving into Phase 6

October 11th, 2012

October 9 2012. Having delivered the Olympics study looking at engagement in super relevant, aggressively marketed, and high urgency sports content, ACB is now cracking on with the final design for phase 6. ACB looks forward to a fantastic phase of research where ACB’s analysis will be at the forefront of understanding how second and third screens drive engagement.

ACB in The Future Zone @ IBC 2012

October 11th, 2012

September 7 2012. ACB’s unobtrusive methodology analyses what is happening in front of the screen and what is on the screen and over past seven years ACB has provided insight on future technology adoption. This sounds simple enough but in the future zone at IBC in Amsterdam, there was the most incredible 3D TV that uses  holographic technology which delivers incredible options for future viewing without the need for glasses. This means not only can you look around the picture so to speak, but also offers a screen where viewers can watch different TV choices at the same time from the one main TV screen and have no need for compromise? Maybe? Very exciting.
Opposite our ACB stand stood the Super Hi-Vision TVs where larger than life 90 inch screens belted out the sensational Olympic opening ceremony and Bolt’s 100 meters. On our stand at ACB (8.G41) our latest research complemented this with viewers from the 1-3-9 Media Lab in Britain in real time (over a month ago now) cheering on Bolt, Mo Farah and Jess Ennis all screamingly engaged!
Interestingly our neighbours at IBC were ETRI – who were show casing fantastic 3D experiences on mobile devices. The multi-platform in home and out of home capture means that ACB is uniquely able to see what is being used both in and out of the home on all screens. We anticipate that maybe next year in 2013 /14 we maybe testing out these amazing devices and this incredible technology.

For more information on IBC the Future Zone, please visit the Schubin Cafe Blog – IBC-ing The Future

Insights from the Children’s Media Conference, 2012

July 10th, 2012

ACB delivered insights over two days of the 9th annual Children’s Media Conference, which took place in Sheffield, July 4-6. Over 820 delegates attended the conference, and the research sessions were well-received with the Thursday session attended to capacity. The Conference Theme, “Ahead of the Game”, was apt for ACB’s future-focused research, as Phil Williams provided case studies of the way children of different ages are consuming media through new technology, including IETVs, smart mobile phones and tablets. The insights, warmly discussed, were a strong fit for the overarching ideas that came out of the conference:

The wrap-session for the event noted that mobile apps were a prominent feature in the conference, and their rapid development is likely to shape future media, something that was apparent during Phase 5 of the 1-3-9 Media Lab as we observed the rise of the tablet. Increasing child-safety and protection online, and the return of parents to the children’s viewing space, both prominent issues in the ACB case studies, were also highlighted. Finally the words ‘transmedia’ and ‘cross media’, whose meaning garnered a great deal of discussion, can be easier explained through the case studies that were presented by ACB.

Alongside discussion sessions into the VoD inquiry and the Second Screen, ACB’s research into natural behaviour proved topical and highly relevant.

Phil Williams at the Children’s Media Conference 2012

July 5th, 2012

At the 2012 Children’s Media Conference, Sheffield, July 4th – 6th, ACB’s Phil Williams will be presenting a study exploring the impact that new technology such as connected TVs, tablets and mobiles, are having on children’s media consumption. Drawing on the results of the longitudinal 139 Media Lab, this will provide deep ethnographic insights into the behaviour of all the children in the study, categorising them onto four groups. These groups, based on age, contain similar patterns of behaviour that demonstrate the trend for children to become increasingly converged as they grow older and their viewing habits become more independent. The presentation will also show how changing social needs change the way that children use the technology available to them, including the influence of older siblings and parents and increasing desires for private viewing time.

Phil Williams will be giving this talk in the Showroom Cinema, Cinema 1, on the 4th July and again on the 5th July.

Phase 6 mini-study: what is the rationale for research into audience behaviour during the Olympics?

June 18th, 2012

With a plan for Phase 6 of the 1-3-9 Media Lab now in the pipeline, ACB are currently preparing to go into the field with a mini-study during the London Olympics. This is going to precede and inform the main study for Phase 6, providing insights into how highly emotional and engaging TV content drives new behaviour across multiple platforms and connected devices.

There are a number of factors that make the 2012 Olympics a particularly valuable opportunity for future-focused research.

Firstly, it is widely recognised that sports content is likely to drive new and explorative behaviour around technology. When the Sky Go mobile service was launched in July 2011, the application initially provided customers with access to Sky’s sports channels in time for the start of the Premier League football season. Sky cleverly recognised that such high urgency content would drive its sports-obsessed customers to seek out ways to watch on mobile devices so that they didn’t have to miss out on any of the action, which in turn would familiarise the users with the product and encourage word-of-mouth promotion by the time Sky had introduced more channels a few months later. Similarly, ACB predicts that the Olympics will bring out new behaviour in its audience – which will inevitably be much broader than just the usual sports enthusiasts.

It is inevitable that the TV audience for the Olympics will include more than just sports fans because the content has been so heavily marketed. This provides ACB with a second reason to go ahead with the mini-study. The imminence of the Games is something that has become part of the public consciousness, because advertisers and the media – legitimately or otherwise – have been anticipating the event in their products since London was confirmed as the host in 2005. This will have generated enough awareness and discussion that TV audiences are likely to be at the very least curious, and likely highly engaged, with the broadcasting of the event in July.

Thirdly, because the event is taking place locally, and because of the nature of such competitions, emotions are likely to be running high for all who are involved in the Olympics. ACB observed TV audiences watching the Olympics in 2004, and watched as members of the household gradually gravitated around the TV as the race won by British athlete Kelly Holmes reached its victorious conclusion. Even teenagers who seemed disinterested in the TV content at first began cheering on their representative athlete at the race went on. These are the kind of emotional peaks of engagement that ACB is able to capture. Back in 2004, audiences didn’t have the means to share these moments using technology so easily. Now, however, there are tablets, smart phones, and connected televisions – and the latest models of these devices will be present in ACB’s sample during this study. If participants are not inclined to use this technology to extend, enhance, or somehow share these kinds of viewing experiences when they are watching the Olympics, then when will they be? This provides ACB with the opportunity to capture their participants at their most engaged and involved with TV content, to see how it is that they make use of the technology available to them to make the most of these moments.

Last week, Sarah Pearson presented at the TV of Tomorrow Show in San Francisco, where ACB’s research was warmly received. The additional insights drawn from this experience represent the most cutting edge and pertinent research from both the UK and the US, and will be used to enhance and guide ACB’s research as the Olympics study commences in the next few weeks, and beyond into the main study in the Autumn.