News Makes Viewers More Receptive to Ads

With assets including the Today show, Nightly News, MSNBC and CNBC, NBCUniversal has done original research that shows that viewers of TV news are more likely to make a decision to buy a product while watching TV news than other programming.

Advertisers look at news programming differently than entertainment and sports, says Linda Yaccarino, president for ad sales at NBCU. The two new studies looked at all news programming to see how viewers react to the commercial messages they see.

At a time when media buyers are seeking more data, NBCU's study worked with two research companies. One, Latitude, conducted a survey of 1,600 consumers, the other, MediaScience, gauged viewers in a lab setting.

The question they were asked to answer was “What is the mindset of the consumer while watching news, and what are the resulting implications for advertisers?”

The Latitude survey found that people’s mindsets are different after watching news compared to other content. They were 52% more likely to makes a decision, 25% more likely to add an item to a shopping list and 30% more likely to buy a product.

In the lab, the MediaScience researchers found consumers process information 20% faster and are 10% more accurate in recalling information.

“News stimulates the analytical and evaluative skills of its viewers, taking them into commercial breaks better able to make decisions,” said Dr. Duane Varan, founder of MediaScience. “The findings pioneer a new approach to media research better isolating program environment effects.”

And what does that mean to NBCU?

“There is a lean-in mentality when the consumer is watching news, and it truly is a decision making tool for them. And that is very revealing and more relevant than ever,” Yaccarino said.

While the research was begun nine months ago, the data is being shared with media buyers and clients now, just before upfront negotiations. Will it help sell more ads in news? “Once we take them through the study, I’m pretty confident it will.”

Brad Adgate, senior VP of research for Horizon Media, was among those briefed about the studies by NBCU. ‘“That the news environment fosters decision making is really important because good advertising is all about getting the consumer to make decisions,” Adgate said. “The study illustrates just how well the news environment achieves that end.”  

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.