Published: 07.38 Europe/London, May 30, 2011

WATCH VIDEO. People access their smart phone when a commercial break interrupts a programme, according to research from IPG Media Lab and YuMe. Ad skipping when watching TV programmes on a PVR do not seem to be the problem.

There are many threats to the classic television commercial and ad skipping on the PVR has been a major concern for advertisers and boadcasters alike. Hence the introduction of CI Plus, where broadcasters can – at least in theory – prevent viewers from skipping commercials. But is this really an effective way of protecting the traditional TV business model? Are there other factors which negatively impact the way viewers consume commercial breaks?

Multitasking has been a suspect for some time, but its effect has not been studied. At least until now, with IPG Media Lab and YuMe being the first to claim systematic research into the phenomenon. The study, which was carried out in the IPG Media Lab in Los Angeles, tracked 48 adult participants in a ‘real live sitaution’ while watching television. The results can be found in a white paper, available for download here.

Using facial tracking algorithms and biometric monitoring, a second-by-second monitoring of cognition, excitement, and stress found that despite constant distractions in both mediums, online video commands higher attention and recall from viewers.

Key findings included the following: viewer distraction, most commonly in the form of smartphones—which are “a persistent companion to video content”— reduce attention to ads for both TV and online video; Versus online video, TV has 3x the drop in attention from content to ad; 63% of TV impressions were ignored; Online video content gets 8.5% more attention than TV and online video ads have 18.3% more fully attentive viewers than TV ads; Online ads have 1.8x the aided recall and 1.5x the unaided recall of TV ads; TV viewers are exposed to nearly twice as many video ads as online viewers.