Friday, May 16, 2008

Disney's New Ad Lab Sends Shivers Down My Spine

Via MediaPost's Media Daily News, another announcement from Disney, this time about a new research lab that it is launching in order to "gain insight into viewer reaction to a range of advertising" and marketing initiatives. As David Goetzl describes, the main purpose of the lab is to find ever "more advanced" ways to gauge audience engagement and ad effectiveness, which will then be used to increase sales at ABC, ESPN and other Disney networks. Similarly, Meg James of the LA Times writes,
The new research center will be based in Austin, Texas, and will test a variety of advertising practices to discern how receptive consumers are to products that are integrated into shows, whether people pay attention to split screens and how they watch programs on mobile devices. Disney hopes to have the center running by November.

The effort is part of a companywide campaign to bring Disney's advertising sales strategy into the 21st century as behavioral research is more plentiful in the digital age. Now, television networks have second-by-second viewing data available, through Nielsen Media Research, TiVo and cable television operators.

In order to accomplish this, Disney has enlisted the expertise of Murdoch University Professor Duane Varan, an established television audience researcher. No mention in the press release or in the ensuing press coverage if the lab will include research on child audiences, but it is Disney, so...

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