CRE Newsletter

CRE Newsletter

October 2015

Letter from the Council

There is a great deal of new activity at the CRE to report to you.

We've launched our study into the validity of the latest forms of audience data, which will culminate in a whitepaper we'll share, as always, with the research community. Researchers are also nearing completion of our two-year ethnography which examined, up close, how various members of different households are viewing video today. CRE representatives and research associates had a successful meeting with Nielsen data scientists to discuss our latest findings. You'll be able to read more about that in this edition, and we will keep you informed about our completed findings from that extensive qualitative study in subsequent editions as well.

Also, Council members moved forward with an initial meeting to discuss thoughts about CRE studies that examine the application of neuroscience in audience measurement. We have not yet formed a committee but, as with other CRE committees, we may consider doing so if we feel the CRE can truly advance the dialogue about and understanding of "neurometrics".

As always, we want to hear from you with any questions about the work of the CRE. And if we’re not addressing something important, we want to hear that as well. Just e-mail us at

Ceril Shagrin Executive Vice President, Audience Measurement Innovation and Analytics Univision Communications Inc. Chair, Council for Research Excellence

Latest News

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CRE Data Quality Committee launches validation white paper Expand

The CRE's Data Quality Committee, chaired by Ceril Shagrin, has launched a Data Validation white paper, a general guide to help researchers evaluate the quality of new data derived from new collection techniques or modeled from other databases.

Research associate RTI International has been tasked with setting forth important validation approaches and criteria, identifying typical trade-offs in assessing quality and providing resources for deeper learning.

At a recent project kick-off meeting, CRE members and RTI researchers discussed the information to be gathered, including: a) What are the important data sources in audience measurement to consider for the report? b) What are the top issues facing those who work with audience data today? and, c) Given the report length and project scope, what are the most important factors to address to make this report a success?

Updates will be provided in future newsletter editions.

Ethnography findings presented to Nielsen researchers Expand

The CRE's two-year video-viewing ethnography, conducted by GfK, is approaching its conclusion. CRE members and GfK researchers presented the latest findings, which included consumers' responses to advertising content, to a group of 21 senior level Nielsen data scientists and engineers earlier this month at Nielsen's research facility in Tampa.

"The meeting was very productive and the Nielsen team said they found the session and the new findings highly valuable," said Brad Adgate, SVP Research at Horizon Media and chair of the CRE's Digital Research Committee. "We're looking forward to presenting the full findings publicly."

The ethnography was launched in October 2013 with a national lineup of 100 households selected to represent a balance of urban, suburban and rural characteristics.  As previously reported, the ethnography has yielded qualitative insights into viewing patterns within the home.

After the scheduled completion of the ethnography later this year, the CRE plans to host an event to report full findings. Updates will be provided in future newsletter editions.

CRE Facilitator Richard Zackon, joined by GfK's Bob Schumacher, will discuss an earlier phase of the project in a presentation entitled, "Media Acceleration: The Impact of New Media Devices in Households," on November 3 at IIR USA"s annual The Market Research Event (TMRE), in Orlando.

CRE's Brad Adgate on approaching the goal line of the two-year ethnography Expand

Q: What brought you to Tampa to present the latest findings?

Tampa is home to a huge Nielsen research facility, and the purpose was to present the findings to as complete a group of Nielsen data scientists and engineers as could be assembled, and to have a frank and wide-ranging discussion of the findings and how they might be applied going forward. Part of the CRE's mandate is to share findings so that the research community has an opportunity to apply these learnings in real-world settings.

Q: You said you considered it a productive meeting. Why?

One clear benchmark for evaluation was that the meeting lasted nearly three hours and the engagement and attendance remained at peak level throughout. The Nielsen executives assembled agreed with the value of the content and overall with the relevance of the findings and the learnings suggested by GfK's work – and this was just their first look. It went about as well as could be hoped for.

Q: What sense did you get that Nielsen, and the broader research community, might be able to take action on the findings?

One of the core benefits CRE brings to Nielsen and the industry is rich dialogue. That's certainly what we had in Tampa and what we expect to have across the industry in the coming months. There are clearly challenges, if not obstacles, that Nielsen and the research community are going to be addressing, and we will all have to evaluate new guidelines based on the viewing dynamics GfK found.

Q: What do you see as next steps?

We'll be finishing off remaining portions of the study and assembling, collating and fine-tuning all the completed findings in preparation for public release. There's a lot here for the research community to discuss. This is moving quickly and I don't think it's going to slow down any time soon.

CRE to explore neurometric studies in audience measurement Expand

The CRE moved forward this month with its exploration of the application of neurometrics in audience measurement.

CRE member Howard Shimmel, Chief Research Officer of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is leading the effort in collaboration with former CRE member and current volunteer Horst Stipp, who is Executive Vice President of Global Business Strategy at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), which also has begun work into the area.

The CRE leadership team on the effort recently met with volunteers to discuss relevant experience, possible research questions the CRE would seek to address, and possible goals for any CRE neurometric research committee that might be developed.

Consensus formed quickly around the need to explore neurometric research in audience measurement.

"Consumers may not always be aware of how much attention they are paying to advertising or may be reluctant to admit it," said Janet Gallent, Senior Vice President of Strategic and Primary Research at NBC Universal, who is overseeing a CRE study into concurrent platform use. "I've always felt that there's a value to using biometrics and eye tracking to get a better understanding of consumer attention to and engagement with advertising."

"One of the possibly best uses of neuroscience methods," Stipp noted, "is to get an objective measurement of the one issue that no respondent in the history of television has ever given accurate answers about: how much they watch commercials; how much they like and dislike them; and how much attention they pay."

"We know we have this great emerging research capability in neuroscience and biometrics," Shimmel added. "The thing to think about is, are there ways to apply these measurements to more deeply inform some of the existing research CRE is doing? Or are there ways we can be using these techniques to further what we know about research methodology?"

As a next step, the volunteers agreed to share ideas for possible studies, in the form of research questions to be answered.

Updates will be provided in future newsletter editions.

Academic review of CRE social TV study provides learnings on mobile diaries Expand

The CRE's recent study into the growing role of social media in conversations and promotion surrounding television programming has borne fruit in another important way: It has helped audience researchers to understand further the potential role of mobile diaries.

Renana Peres, Associate Professor of Marketing at The Jerusalem School of Business Administration at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was part of the academic review team, along with Mitchell Lovett, Associate Professor of Marketing from the University of Rochester's Simon Business School, delving into learnings from the CRE's two-part "Talking Social TV" study. Earlier this month, at a meeting of the Market Research Council at New York City's Yale Club, she discussed the study's use of mobile diaries.

"Smartphone diaries are increasingly used in psychology, geography, medicine and commercial marketing, but are still relatively rare in scholarly quantitative marketing research," Peres noted. "One major barrier is that the accuracy of mobile diaries is not yet established."

Peres added that "Talking Social TV" enabled researchers to evaluate the accuracy and shortcomings of mobile devices as a research tool and to provide empirically based guidance on designing mobile diary studies.

For example, using individual-level People Meter data for 151 respondents, researchers compared metered viewing to these respondents' mobile diary reports -- finding the mobile diary-based ratings to have a 0.90 correlation with Nielsen People Meter ratings.

Lovett and Peres collaborated with the CRE's research associate on the "Talking Social TV" studies, Keller Fay Group, a marketing research company specializing in word-of-mouth research. The efforts were supervised by the CRE's Social Media Committee, chaired by Beth Rockwood, Senior Vice President, Market Resources at Discovery Communications.

The work of the "Talking Social TV" academic team "is a prime example of research being re-contextualized for a different purpose," added CRE Facilitator Richard Zackon. "It is pure research on research -- in this case to examine methods of measurement."