How Much Will Advertisers Pay for a 1.5 Second Spot?

03Jul07
clipped from www.nytimes.com
Engaging at Any Speed? Commercials Put to Test

In new experiments for NBC, people are hooked up to sensors as they watch
television, and researchers observe changes in their heart rate, palm sweat, eye
movement and breathing patterns.
But the panelists are not watching just NBC programs. They are watching
commercials — in fast-forward mode.

So far, the findings have been just what NBC hoped: judging from the
biological reactions, the test subjects were just as engaged while watching
fast-forwarded advertisements as they were while viewing opening scenes from the
NBC show “Heroes” at regular speed.
And that conclusion — which is still preliminary — could have big implications
for NBC and other networks as they negotiate rates for air time with
advertisers.

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I think this is absolutely an interesting and thought-provoking study in our post-broadcast, niche media world. “Life After the 30 Second Spot” (check out Joseph Jaffee’s book on the subject) means media giants must work even harder to stay profitable and, indeed, desperate times sometime call for desperate studies. However optimistic and provocative, this study falls short because participants are actively engaged in TV and commercial viewing. They sit back, watch and report. However, today’s TV viewer is not only fast forwarding the commercial, she is checking her email, downloading at iTunes and Skyping her pals during show breaks. Perhaps this type of environment was tested as well but I didn’t see an indication of this in the report. Interested to know your thoughts- Should advertisers pay for your attention when you fast forward through their messages?

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