by Dave Zornow
Published in Cynopsis:Weekender newsletter, 7/26/07
When the Beatles released the song “Here, There and Everywhere” in 1966, the media landscape was much simpler than it is today. In that pre-remote, non-digital, all-live era, all you needed to get by were three networks and a television set with rabbit ears. In 1966, mobile media included transistor radios, 45s and a few ungainly black & white TV models with handles.
Now, mobile media is here – and everywhere. But consumers’ desire to watch and roam conflicts with advertisers’ need to know who is getting their messages. IMMI, a Silicon Valley technology startup, thinks they have a solution to this conflict of interests.
“A measurement system needs to be ubiquitous and flexible,” says Amanda Welch, co-founder and interim CEO of IMMI. The firm will have research panels in six DMAs by September to collect consumer exposure to broadcast, cable and radio using proprietary cell phone software. Each mobile phone samples ten seconds of sound twice each minute transmitting digital signatures for each snippet to central media servers. The respondents’ signatures are then matched against a database of audio continuously collected from all TV and radio outlets in the market. These data can be supplemented with static content from offline media as well as commercials, promos, movies and songs.
IMMI’s technique differs from the Arbitron PPM deployment in Houston and Philadelphia. Where Arbitron relies on media outlets to encode content with an inaudible serial number identifying it’s source, IMMI can classify content without client cooperation. Nielsen, formerly a PPM partner, is working with IMMI to create a national panel of Persons 13-54 to measure out-of-home media consumption. The first phase of Nielsen’s out-of-home reporting for six broadcast and 70 cable networks, regional sports networks and 40+ syndicated shows is targeted for release in September, 2007.
Studies from Arbitron, IMMI and other vendors indicate there’s a substantial amount of out-home-viewing that doesn’t get included in the ratings. Data from IMMI in March and April data show unreported out-of-home viewing to American Idol accounted for 5-20 percent of total viewing in Chicago, Los Angles, New York and Miami. Including out-of-home viewing in future ratings is good news for both providers of movable media and advertisers who want to reach consumers here, there and everywhere. ##
Dave Zornow is President/TNG Research, a media research consultancy and applications development company that works with media sellers and research providers.
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