LONDON: Is advertising on television really a value for money proposition?
Not if you go by the findings revealed in a recent study by the
London Business School (LBS).
The LBS study has also put a question mark on viewership ratings,
which according to it only measure how many people have their television
sets on, rather than the number of people actively watching.
The study found that people who watched television with family
or friends were far more likely to talk to each other during the
commercial breaks than to focus on the ads.
In a radical departure from established norm, which sees the maximum
ad spend going onto shows with the highest viewership, the study
claims that less-watched shows could in fact be a better option
for advertisers. The reasoning behind this is that lone viewers
were more likely to be concentrating on the ads.
"In a breathtaking example of ignorance and strategic naivety,
advertisers have spent millions in the mistaken belief that they
have purchased an audience for their advertising that never existed,"
LBS assistant professor of marketing Mark Ritson was quoted as saying
by the Financial Times.
"They could have spent less money and ensured more exposure
by buying spots that delivered a lonely but more attentive viewer,"
Ritson was quoted as having said.
Ritson made his findings based on a sample comprising people ranging
from retired couples to a group of immigrant office workers over
a single week using miniature cameras and microphones.
The observations indicated that those viewers derides products
and ads and passed negative comments on the products and services.
Others spent the commercial break doing housework, reading or channel
Several avid viewers watched not more than half the ad commercials.
"This is important because most countries use "peoplemeters"
to measure advertising audiences. The problem is that the peoplemeter
assumes that people in living rooms during commercial breaks are
watching the advertising if they are present in the room,"
the report says.
Research agencies confirm that there is no method to verify whether
the ads are being watched or not. Separate studies have to be conducted
in order to verify the same. The debate on viewership ratings continues!