Mass-audience TV retains more viewers, research claims

TV viewers are more likely to pay close attention to programmes on mass-audience channels than on specialist niche channels and are therefore more likely to stay tuned during ad breaks, according to new research from sales house TSMS.

The study follows on from existing media agency research which shows that there is a direct correlation between attentive viewing of programmes and high advertising recall, and between attentive viewing and ad effectiveness.

It concludes that mass-audience channels, such as ITV and BBC1, hold attention up to 93 per cent more than small rating channels, despite their specialist programming.

The BARB study, designed by TSMS, analysed all the terrestrial channels and ten satellite channels, including UK Gold, Sky One, Sky Movies, Nickleodeon and Discovery. During a four-week period ending last October, every minute of programming was analysed across 14 target audiences.

The top attention holding programme for ABC1 adults was Coronation Street, where 75 per cent of viewers watched three-quarters of the programme or more, followed by Friends, with 71 per cent of viewers and Changing Rooms on BBC2 with 69 per cent.

The research concludes that an attentive audience offers greater value for increasing sales, and that BBC1 and ITV outscore all other channels.

Sue Moseley, TSMS strategic planning director, says: “The message we will be taking to the industry is that TV is not a commodity market. Some ratings are more valuable than others and give greater sales effectiveness.”

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