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Magid Study Finds :15 Spot Does Job of :30 in Promos

Jun 20, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Fifteen seconds might be all it takes to convince a viewer to watch a newscast, according to research that will be unveiled at this week’s Promax&BDA conference in New York.

A study conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates found there was no significant difference in effectiveness between 15-second promos and the 30-second promos many stations and networks now use.

For the third consecutive year, Promax has retained Magid to conduct research that is disseminated to its members at its annual convention.

In addition to spot length, Magid’s research this year also looked at the effects of digital video recorders on promotional activity, on the use of snipes (promotions that run on-screen during programs) and the use of mobile devices as a medium for promotions and other content.

The research, conducted in May, was based on a panel of 1,000 viewers ages 18 to 54, watching simulated broadcasts over the Internet. In part of the survey, Magid showed some viewers 15-second promos and other viewers 30-second promos.

“There was little difference in the percent of recalls for a message in a :15 as opposed to a :30,” said Brent Magid, president and CEO of the TV research company. “Length generally has very little to do with the impact of a spot, and there tend to be other factors that will drive not only recall but motivation.”

The factors that appear to be more important in gaining viewer interest and attention are relevance, timeliness, topicality and proper context with the surrounding programming.

Magid used product spots as well as promotional spots and came up with similar findings.

“If you’re an advertiser you can buy :15s and certainly, depending on the creative, because that is a factor, you can be as effective [as with a 30-second spot],” Mr. Magid said.

Advertisers buying fewer commercial minutes isn’t necessarily a bad thing for stations and networks, he added. “The good news for broadcasters is they charge a premium for a :15 as opposed to a :30, that this would allow them to open up more inventory, which can be a positive.”

Switching to :15s from :30s would either give broadcasters more time to sell, or allow them to air more frequent promotions.

Local stations currently use promos of various lengths, Mr. Magid said, but it’s fairly common practice-leading into late newscasts in particular-for stations to take out :30s in the hour or two preceding their late news in prime time.

“We would posit that instead of just running one :30 at 9:45, you’re better off running two :15s, one at 9:30 and one at 9:45, for example,” he said.

Factors that keep consumers interested-in addition to relevance, timeliness, topicality and context- will be discussed during the conference, he said.

These same factors play a role in whether someone will stop for a commercial or a promo or fast-forward using a DVR, he added.

“The quality of the advertising or the promotion has to be held to the same standards of quality as the programming that’s on the air,” he said. With the proliferation of media, “If anything, the bar has been raised. You have to be able to show value to someone in order for them to stick around and watch it.”

Magid also took a look at the new wireless media, especially cellphones. Networks and stations are eager to repurpose their content over what appears to be a new distribution outlet.

Some content, such as weather reports, has almost universal appeal, but in most cases it’s not as automatically appealing.

“The interest in video content on cellphones is fairly limited” to people 18 to 28 years old, he said.

Magid also plans to discuss at the conference ways of figuring out the sort of content audience segments respond to best.