MSW Research, Wins Best Practitioner Paper 2021 by the JAR Editorial Board

June 30th, 2021 Comments off

Today, the Advertising Research Foundation announced that the paper “Effectiveness and Efficiency of TV’s Brand-Building Power: A Historical Review — Why the Persuasion Rating Point (PRP) Is a More Accurate Metric than the GRP” has been voted Best Practitioner Paper 2021 by the JAR Editorial Board.  Along with co-authors Frank Findley of MASB, David Stewart of Loyola Marymount University and Kelly Johnson of Disney, we at MSW Research were very honored to have our work recognized with this prestigious award.

The paper was published in the December 2020 issue of the Journal of Advertising Research.  It addresses the questions of whether television advertising is as effective as in the past and if so, how it compares with other media-platform alternatives.

The major conclusions of the study include the following:

  • On a single, quality exposure basis the television ad format is as effective now as it was in the 1980s (based on copy-testing for 30-second television ads collected within the United States for typical categories with brands advertising throughout the years 1980 to 2014 using a consistent methodology, MSW Research’s CCPersuasionTM measure).

  • The rate of delivery of an ad’s selling power per GRP has slowed, requiring approximately 25% more GRPs to deliver the same brand-building power in market as it did in the 1980s.  This implies that television-channel proliferation, time-shifting technology, and simultaneous digital-media consumption (multi-screen behavior) are having an impact on the advertising viewing experience.

 

  • This decline is mitigated, however, by a 45 percent increase in the number of households in the United States over the same time period.  Each rating point now represents many more households. So even though fewer households are now effectively reached by a given spending level on a percentage basis, this is not true on an absolute number of households basis.

 

  • Despite a potential increase in distracted viewing, television advertising still maintains an effective frequency profile that is comparable to other media channels including digital.  All examined media types – including television – can be effective within the range of average frequencies typically deployed for them.

 

Every media platform has its own strengths and challenges. Although the interruptive nature of television advertising may make it more susceptible to divided attention with other media, it also provides television with one of the most immersive visual and audio experiences.

Television remains an effective media platform, and television advertising should continue to be used to maintain and grow market share. By focusing attention on the development stage, brands can improve advertisement quality to such a degree as to more than compensate for the decline in the rate of ad selling power delivery per gross rating point.

Trafficking gross rating points behind advertisements on the basis of their persuasive strength allows for the diminishing returns dictated by wearout to be managed while maximizing sales power delivered in market.  This means actively managing both quantity and quality of the advertising media plan, which can be achieved through focusing on Persuasion Rating Points (GRPs weighted by a measure of persuasion), rather than GRPs alone.

Contact us for a full reprint of the article.

Categories: Ad Pre-Testing, MASB, Uncategorized Tags:

Streaming Services Deep Dive… | The Brand Strength Monitor / RDE Chart of the Week | Pre/Post Pandemic Penetration and Usage

June 22nd, 2021 Comments off

In our last Chart of the Week we started looking at the Subscription Video Streaming Services category and specifically the pandemic winner – HBO Max.  This week we’re taking a deep dive and examining the Pre/Post Pandemic Penetration and Usage by demographics.

The MSW TBSM tracking service measures category penetration and level of usage as one component of the survey.  A comparison of results taken before the beginning of the pandemic to a comparable assessment from May 2021 reveals explosive growth in the Subscription Streaming Video Services category.

  • Overall, category penetration increased from 75.4% to 86.6%, which represents a 15% increase.  Moreover, claimed heavy usage increased by over half during the pandemic, from 18.5% before the outbreak to 29.2% in May 2021.  Clearly, as a result of spending much more time at home during the pandemic, people were turning to video entertainment.

 

  • Those demographic groups which have seen particularly large gains include:
    • Women, with heavy usage of streaming video services more than doubling.
    • Age 55 Plus, which had the lowest pre-pandemic penetration, but closed the gap substantially, reaching penetration of 70% in the latest reading.
    • Below Median Income, clearly also looking for entertainment options and perhaps enticed by some of the newer services, particularly lower cost “basic” plans.

 

  • Clearly these results are consistent with the surge in subscription levels reported by the major subscription streaming video services for 2020:
    • Netflix added 37 million new subscribers worldwide in 2020 – easily the largest annual increase since expanding into video streaming 14 years ago.
    • Hulu added 9 million new subscriptions, a 29.6% year-over-year increase.
    • While Disney+ debuted with very strong numbers pre-pandemic, growth continued to surge through the pandemic. The service hit 100 million subscribers in March 2021; a remarkable feat for a service just over a year old which initially hoped to reach 60 to 90 million subscribers by 2024.
    • At the end of the first quarter of 2021, HBO and HBO Max totaled 44.2 million domestic subscribers – far exceeding the 33.1 million subscribers a year ago (before HBO Max).

 

While subscriber growth is seen to be slowing with the easing of the pandemic, it is clear the pandemic accelerated the trend toward the use of streaming services, particularly among those groups which had been slower to adopt the technology.

 

| The Brand Strength Monitor / RDE Chart of the Week | HBO MAX: Pandemic Winner

June 9th, 2021 Comments off

MSW’s RDE Analytic Framework rests on a study that found that three equity dimensions (Relevance, Differentiation, Emotion) are responsible for driving a significant portion of brand growth. The RDE composite strongly relates to – and helps explain – CCPreference which itself is a validated predictor of market share.

Comparing RDE Assessment taken before the pandemic to comparable assessment from May 2021 reveals one brand in the Subscription Video Streaming Services category that has emerged as a winner – HBO Max.

  • HBO Max was launched in May 2020 well after the COVID pandemic was underway. It essentially replaced the previous HBO streaming service, HBO Now, but with a huge amount of new content from a variety of WarnerMedia brands.
  • Despite RDE levels being generally depressed as a result of the pandemic, HBO Max RDE levels easily surpass HBO Now pre-pandemic levels.
    • HBO Max easily outstrips HBO Now on all three RDE dimensions.
    • HBO Max is particularly strong in terms of relevance meaning that SVOD consumers feel that the HBO Max service is for someone like them.

  • HBO Max also far exceeds HBO Now in terms of CCPreference – the percent of consumers preferring HBO Max over competitors in the subscription streaming services category. This suggests that HBO Max should be performing well in the marketplace. How has it done?
  • HBO Max’s strength is its large and varied TV and movie catalog. In addition, Warner Brothers has been releasing its 2021 movies on HBO Max simultaneous with the theatrical release which has proven very popular.
    • At the end of the first quarter of 2021, HBO and HBO Max totaled 44.2 million domestic subscribers – far exceeding the 33.1 million subscribers a year ago (before HBO Max).
    • A report from Reelgood indicated HBO’s share of streaming activity rose from 2.0% in Q1 of 2020 (pre-HBO Max) to 12% in Q4 2020, placing HBO Max ahead of Disney+ and behind only Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu.
  • This success – mirrored by extremely strong CCPreference growth – has come despite a soft launch which slowly added support for many popular streaming devices, the COVID pandemic and accompanying economic downturn, and ever-increasing competition in the streaming video space.

The RDE composite is strongly related to brand preference in this category, with a correlation of 0.96