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Study to Track Media Exposure

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NEW YORK With marketers more concerned than ever about media fragmentation, Ball State University's Center for Media Design will conduct a pilot study examining how individuals consume traditional and emerging video platforms inside and outside the home.

The Council for Research Excellence, an independent group established last year to provide feedback to Nielsen Media Research on audience measurement issues, commissioned the study.

To conduct the pilot, Ball State researchers will directly observe the minute-by-minute activities of sample participants. The researchers will categorize participants' media exposure, day-to-day activities, location and attention.

Depending on the insights derived from the pilot, a larger study that would run a full year may be undertaken, the council said. If pursued, the larger study would be designed to help Nielsen approach and prioritize different emerging platforms such as video on demand and broadband video for measurement.

"In today's rapidly evolving media world, it is essential to get a handle on not only what people are doing, but how they are reacting, how their behavior changes over time, and how each emerging technology acquisition fits into their lives and affects how they interact with, and focus their attention on, each medium and its advertising," said Steve Sternberg, evp, audience at Interpublic Group's Magna Global, and co-chair of the council's media consumption and engagement committee.

The Council for Research Excellence was created in 2005 by Nielsen (owned by Adweek parent VNU), which also provided a $2.5 million budget to the group for R&D on various media issues. The R&D fund was renewed with an additional $2.5 million earlier this year.

Helping Ball State shape the study is Sequent Partners, a brand and media metrics consulting company.

"This study represents an important step toward better understanding how consumers interact with the multitude of new video outlets and devices available to them," said Mark Kaline, global media manager, Ford Motor Co., and chairman of the Council for Research Excellence. "The insight gained from this study will help paint a clearer picture of today's multitasking and increasingly mobile audience for marketers and the media alike."