Who’s Paying Attention to TV Shows? TVision Knows

By Jon Lafayette

Originally published in Broadcasting & Cable


During the first quarter, CBS’ comedy Life in Pieces attracted the most attention of any primetime broadcast show, according to research company TVision Insights.

In a crowded media landscape, attention is an important commodity for both programs and advertising. The highest rated shows and the ads backed with the most spending don’t always score the highest in TVision Insights’ surveys.

Other broadcast shows getting high attention scores include NBC’s Little Big Shots, Fox’s The Mick, CBS’ The Good Fight, NBC’s Superstore, ABC’s black-ish, Fox’s New Girl and MasterChef Celebrity Showdown, and NBC’s Chicago Med and Trial & Error.

Primetime shows on cable actually had higher attention indexes than broadcast shows. The top series on cable was Cooking Channel’s Unwrapped 2.0.

Other top cable shows include A&E’s 60 Days In: Atlanta, Weather Channel’s Strangest Weather on Earth, OWN’s 48 Hours: Hard Evidence, FYI’s Seven Year Switch, Pop’s Schitt’s Creek, Disney XD’s Right Now Kapow, A&E’s Live PD and E!’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

TVision founder and chief research officer Dan Schiffman notes that unscripted reality shows seem to outperform in the company’s surveys, as do premieres and finales.

The company also measures the attention captured by TV commercials.

Big spenders like GEICO, Nutrisystem, Progressive, Verizon and AT&T Wireless capture the most attention on TV.

But looking at the amount of attention paid versus the amount of time on air, the top single commercial in primetime featured Joe Montana for Skechers. That was followed by spots for T-Mobile, Capri Sun, Netflix and STX Entertainment. Including spots that run outside of prime, the most attention getting relative to spending was for Crown Royal. That was followed by AT&T, Netflix, John Hancock and Morgan Stanley.

TVision has a representative panel of viewers that uses eye tracking and computer vision technology to determine who is in the room and whether their heads and bodies are facing the TV.

The data the company generates is used by the advertising and program research arms of TV networks and by media buying agencies, Schiffman says.

“In an environment where quantity seems to be declining, we provide this data set on quality,” said Schiffman. “Nobody’s coming in and telling you your ratings are on the upswing, but there are other components to understand.”

If one network’s environment provides better engagement with advertising, it could negotiate for a higher rate. “We help networks demonstrate the value of their advertising environments,” he said.

From a program research perspective, TVision’s data can help produce whether a show's ratings will continue to go up or if they’ve peaked.

“On the buy side we’re helping the advertisers make smarter data-driven decisions about TV. One of the reasons a lot of advertisers have been cautious about TV of late is that there’s so much data to drive their decision making and to report back on their performance in digital, whereas we haven’t had that level of granularity, that level of data driven intelligence on TV,” Schiffman said.

“We’ve actually helped a lot of brands make TV advertising decisions that have swapped creative as well as allocate to different networks and programs as a result of understanding where people are paying attention,” he said.

TV and CTV Attention Report
The TV and CTV Attention Report