It's not only good for kids when families watch TV together. It may also be a lot better for advertisers.
Viewers who watch TV in groups are twice as likely to remember specific ads, they change channels less, and they even notice product placement more than those who watch alone, according to research released at last week's second annual Family Friendly Programming Forum seminar.
The findings, drawn from ongoing research by Interpublic Group's Initiative, are part of the forum's exploration into the evolving nature of what constitutes families and successful family-friendly programming.
"That's our home-run slide," said Stacey Lynn Koerner, Initiative evp and director of global research integration. "Conventional thinking is that the more distraction in the room, the less likely people will recall or even see the advertising."
The research also suggests that families are watching plenty of shows together. Sixty percent of comedy viewers watch with family (vs. 32 percent watching alone and 7 percent with friends). Fifty-eight percent of drama lovers do the same (vs. 38 percent alone, 4 percent with friends), as do 55 percent of reality viewers (29 percent alone, 16 percent with friends).
It's not just mom and dad getting together. Among viewers 18-34, half watch comedy with family members, and four in 10 do so with reality shows.
Koerner added that families watching together tend to record shows less often, making family-friendly programming a "DVR-buster genre."
"Great family programming connects in a unique way," said Dawn Jacobs, vp of advertising for Johnson & Johnson, one of 47 major clients who comprise the FFPF, which has bankrolled script development for shows such as Gilmore Girls, American Dreams and 8 Simple Rules. "It's not easy to get new shows [like these] on the air, but when you do, it's magic."
Media buyers are intrigued. "Programs that attract multigenerational viewing are of great interest, because research has clearly shown there are multiple decision makers and/or influencers in families for many product categories," said Peter Olsen, svp and director of national broadcast at WPP Group's MediaCom in New York.