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April 23, 2014

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Do TV commercials work just as well if you fast forward?

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 10th 2007 12:21PM
Max HeadroomWe've heard of networks doing all sorts of crazy research to prove to advertisers that PVR owners don't skip commercials as much as they pretend to. Or when they do actually fast forward, they're still paying attention.

Last month, the head of NBC Universal's news research division said that the network has been performing "neurological and biometric" research. Essentially they hooked about 20 TV viewers up to special equipment and measured their physical responses to commercials. They found that people were paying attention. And in fact, after they were finished watching TV episodes, the viewers were able to remember brands that had been advertised just about as well as if they had watched 30 second commercials.

On the one hand, the sample seems pretty small. And it's possible that the reason viewers were "highly engaged," is because they were still pumped up from watching Heroes, or because they were trying to figure out when the fast-forwarded commercials would end.

On the other hand, Silicon Alley Insider raises a good point. If the 5-second blipverts are just as effective as full 30 second commercials, should NBC really be promoting this research? Because what it really suggests is that advertisers are paying too much for full length commercial spots.

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