Mediatel Conference – our experts report back on the future of media research


Mediatel recently held a conference on the Future of Media Research – Helen Hepworth and Tássia Henkes Maciel from Carat’s Insight and Innovation Team went along to find out the latest in this fascinating field.

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Research media experts from a range of backgrounds came together at this Mediatel event at ICA London to give us their views on areas of interest in the research media world.


Lynne Robinson (IPA) started off the event, being interviewed by David Pidgeon (Mediatel Newsline) – giving her views on the main areas affecting the future of media research. She spoke about the importance of finding standard measurements and definitions for areas such as watching video. She described the continued importance of ‘JICs’ and the need for them to continually adapt in order to survive. She also stressed that if these were to be lost, this would be problematic for the industry as there would be a loss of media currencies.


Stuart Wilkinson (comScore) introduced a short case study on X-media, a study from the USA. He spoke about the need for cross platform media measurement and the utilisation of a panel informed approach rather than purely relying on panel data, to allow for this area to be fully understood and reported on.

The future of TV and VOD

The first panel then took place. This was chaired by Richard Marks (Director, Research the Media) and had the following four panellists: our very own Mark Greenstreet; Alex North (Facebook); Ian Dowds (UKOM); and Martin Greenbank (Channel 4).

They debated areas around the future of TV and VOD measurement and research. The liveliest conversation was around the question: what do we mean by viewing? No firm conclusions were reached and it was stressed that it would be good to have an industry standard definition of viewing, when digital videos and ads are encompassed in this picture. The importance of the continued use and role of BARB was stressed.

Research into Times subscribers

The winner of the Mediatel research awards gave a presentation on their research project. Sean Adams (News UK) gave an interesting overview of the research that had been conducted on Times subscribers. This was a four-week longitudinal study on the offline and online behaviours of multi-platform subscribers. He stated that the main challenge that the newspaper industry faces is that people value the digital print environment less than the hard copy print environment. This study provided some evidence to help decipher the attribution of advertising exposure on both a digital and print level.

Eye-tracking pilot study insights

Mike Follett (Lumen Research) and Maria Sealey (Aimia) introduced their eye tracking pilot study. This new and innovative piece of research looked at a sample of 470 people in their homes – we were given an insight into some of the outcomes which are emerging. Some of the main take outs were that people generally do not click on digital ads and are likely to only look at them for less than a second. So a main recommendation would be that digital ads should take on some of the principles of posters when designing it. For charity advertising, people are more likely to be interested in the picture rather than the wording of an ad.

Research innovation

The final panel of the day was on the topic of research innovation. This was chaired by Richard Mark and had the following four panellists: Jim Kite (Starcom MediaVest); Richard Shotton (Zenith Optimedia); Adele Gritten (Consultant); and Lisa West (Primesight). Some of the main areas debated were the role of the media researcher and the impact of some digital data being democratised e.g. via Google’s newest offerings. Also how smaller companies may be able to be more innovative and flexible in their approaches compared to larger less nimble companies.

Overall it was an interesting morning that got the two of us thinking about media measurement and innovation.

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