The bigger picture

Posted by Zweli Mokgata on 20 Jan, 2012 / News

The SA Advertising Research Foundation (Saarf) has a new method of researching television viewing.

Its television audience measurement survey (Tams) has brought personal video recorders (PVRs) into its survey to reflect the effect of what is called time-shifted viewing. PVRs allow viewers to pause or rewind live TV for up to two hours, record TV programmes and skip through commercials.

The technology, which was introduced in 2005, has reduced the impact of conventional advertising. However, the extent of this was not measured in Tams’ research until last month.

Tams technical manager Michelle Boehme says: “Most time-shifted viewing has taken place in pay-TV, but it has also been seen in free-to-air TV, where people have access to SABC through their DStv decoders.”

The types of TV programmes most likely to be time-shifted are magazine shows, soaps, dramas and sitcoms, according to Saarf. In general, there is not much of it on sport and news shows.

An understanding of the effect of time-shifting will be crucial for brands engaged in time-sensitive advertising such as limited-time sales in retail markets.

The introduction of 356000 more households in the research gives a more complete picture. A total universe of 11,05m sets was counted in December, from 10,69m in August. This year Saarf intends to grow its Tams sample from 1700 to around 3000 homes. It will need more money from the marketing industry.

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