Beating Embedded Behaviour

Posted on: Friday 02 July 2010 6:57am

Understanding real drivers and real shifts of behavioural change in children through video ethnographic research.

Moderator: Shazia Ali, Research Consultant, Mint Research

Speaker: Sarah Pearson, Managing Partner, Actual Customer Behaviour (ACB) LLP

Consumption of Video on Demand (VoD) services is a hot topic for many in the industry, which is why a consortium of broadcasters commissioned a three year ethnographic study with ACB to provide insights on actual rather than ‘claimed’ behaviour. The study involved lots of video cameras in households over extended periods, allowing them to capture what people were watching and what their reaction were.

The first key point is that PVR’s are the future with 75% of households expected to have one by 2013. All the households in the study had PVR’s. The good news for the big channels are they’re here to stay – On Demand will have little impact on this. PVR users want more hard drive rather than more On Demand.

Viewing VoD is most successful on laptop screens for personal viewing rather then on TV’s. Traditionally, TV is where most social viewing takes place but this in turn means that it can consist mostly of ‘compromise tv’ whereby whoever has control over the remote wins. Laptops provide personal and private ‘my TV’ viewing. Despite this watching TV together remains a key activity – the families in this research did it regularly.

Children are also using VoD to enhance their TV viewing. In the study, one young girl went online to check out the Dr Who website, then watched the show on TV with the family before getting up at 8am the following morning to watch the show all over again on the laptop! Dads tend to influence children/teens’ online behavior by either prompting them or by regularly going online themselves. Children often mirror dad and younger siblings mirror their older siblings.

When a laptop was introduced into one household and the eldest son had more ‘my tv’ time as a consequence, he started to watch darker subjects. Then his younger brother tried to emulate by looking up similar bite size vids on you tube and by the end of the study the youngest sibling had started using the laptop mainly to keep up with the elder siblings.

It seems that habits and trends are changing but it’s happening slowly and invariably it’s complementing existing viewing. Laptops enable kids to have more freedom in what they view. This research is about to begin Phase 3 so hopefully next year we can get even more information to digest and discuss!

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