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Study: ESPN Fans Big on Cars, Bars

Placed, Inc. survey matches TV outlets with store visits

Photo: Getty Images

If you happen to own a car dealership, you could do worse than buy advertising time on ESPN. Same principal applies if you’re a publican or barkeep.

According to new research from Placed, Inc., a firm that marries consumer location-based data with TV usage patterns, ESPN viewers overindex appreciably in their patronage of auto showrooms and bars. In fact, the study suggests that the average ESPN viewer is 37 percent more likely to visit a pub and/or tavern, and is 12 percent more likely to pop into a local dealership.

Per Placed Insights, ESPN enthusiasts were particularly loyal to the General Motors browsing experience, demonstrating a 25 percent greater likelihood of visiting a GM showroom than the average consumer.

On the other side of the coin, ABC viewers underindexed on GM and Ford, Fox loyalists are bigger fans of Toyota and Ford dealerships than they are GM, NBC fans are hot on Honda but much less likely to take a Ford for a test drive, and CBS diehards preferred GM and Toyota to Ford.

Of course, the automotive category pumps a tremendous amount of capital into television. Last year, the Big Three alone invested $2.82 billion in national TV time, or around 73 percent of their aggregate measured media spend, according to Kantar Media.

Telecom also does a lot of heavy lifting for TV, especially on broadcast. Together, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint Nextel in 2012 poured some $1.65 billion into the networks’ coffers. As the Placed study notes, the NBC audience is most likely to visit the aforementioned carriers’ retail stores, as well as T-Mobile outlets.

Brand affinity particularly works in T-Mobile’s favor, at least when the habits of Modern Family viewers are under scrutiny. Fans of the hit ABC comedy (with an average 4.2 rating among adults 18-49, it’s the No. 2 sitcom behind CBS’ The Big Bang Theory) are 28 percent more likely to visit a T-Mobile store than an average consumer.

Other brands that clicked with Modern Family viewers include Macy’s, Target, Apple Store and Best Buy. Of these, Macy’s demonstrated the strongest skew, as viewers were 32 percent more likely to patronize the department store than the average consumer.

While much of the Placed data focused on legacy programs, the company did take a peek ahead to the 2013-14 broadcast season. According to its research, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) was singled out as the most anticipated new show, edging Fox’s Sleepy Hollow by a single percentage point. Given that S.H.I.E.L.D. is an offshoot of the $1.5 billion Avengers franchise, it should come as no surprise that those who said they’d be watching this fall were 18 percent more likely to see a movie in a theater.

The Placed Insights study was conducted in August and is based on data culled from 10,489 smartphone survey respondents here in the U.S.

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