CABs Next Ad-Recall Study Springs Ahead

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New York-The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau and Nielsen Media Research have already brought the second wave of their commercial-recall study into the field, CAB research vice president Jonathan Sims said last week.

The hope is that the data will yield important information on how pod position and the like affect advertising recall levels, he said.

Nielsen conducted the initial wave of random telephone interviews in the first week of the February sweeps. It involved nearly 5,800 adults aged 18 and older.

The latest study will interview 12,000 adults about unaided ad recall throughout the month of April, Sims said.

Those interviews, initially planned to target 10,000 consumers, began April 3.

"It will take a while to publish the results," he said, noting that topline data could be ready for ad agencies by mid-May.

The CAB released the initial recall study's results at its Cable Advertising Conference here last month. It concluded that the unaided recall level for commercials seen on cable networks among adult viewers was "essentially identical" to levels for spots seen on the broadcast networks, Sims said.

Nielsen verified the recall responses for accuracy by matching them against its Monitor Plus log of network commercials.

At the CAB conference, Sims offered the recall study database to ad agencies. But last Wednesday he backed off, saying it would make more sense to offer agencies the combined two-study database-the largest unaided ad-recall study ever done. The sample sizes for the first one alone are too small, he conceded.

In that first study, about 780 adults said they were watching one of 34 ad-supported cable networks during the most recent commercial break, compared with 1,500 who were viewing one of the seven broadcast networks. Only 97 cable viewers correctly recalled a commercial on cable from that break; just 194 broadcast-TV viewers were able to do the same.

Sims said he hoped the larger sample would yield bigger recall numbers.

The agencies will also be able to match the CAB/Nielsen survey results against Nielsen's Monitor Plus data to see how much influence the position in a pod, length of a commercial and clutter have on ad recall, Sims said.

"No question there is a way" to do that cross-checking, he said. "We're definitely going to check that out."

The agency community might find that data more important than determining whether broadcast outpoints cable in ad recall, or vice versa, he added.

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