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Video Consumer Mapping Study

Insight and Research at the Center for Media Design unveils results from $3.5 million study for Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence (CRE) in New York City news conference on March 26.
In 2008, after successfully completing a pilot study for the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence (CRE), the Center for Media Design (CMD) was commissioned to conduct the $3.5 million Video Consumer Mapping (VCM) study, a yearlong, national observational project exploring cross-platform video consumption and consumer media behaviors.

Using smart keyboards and a custom-programmed media collector software, CMD observers followed participants throughout two entire days, recording all of their media use, their locations, and their life activities, including going to work, taking care of household chores, and running errands.

The final sample included 476 participants, resulting in 952 observed days, over three-fourths of a million minutes of observation granularly captured with a 10-second resolution. Observations were conducted in Dallas, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, and Chicago, as well as Indianapolis where participants were part of the Acceleration component of the project. In this Acceleration, receptive consumers were observed, then introduced to selected new media devices and services before a second observation. This process facilitates an insightful pre-post analysis that explores the potential impact of those devices and services as they are adopted by consumers on a larger scale.

The project was executed with Sequent Partners, a brand and media metrics consultancy, on behalf of the Council for Research Excellence, an independent forum of media industry research experts created and funded by The Nielsen Company.

VideoMapingStudy_videoBall State coverage of the VCM study launch 

Official press release
“[This study] promises to be the largest and most significant ethnographic study of media ever in the modern age. It will yield incredible new insights, especially about TV and what it is evolving into. Mark my words, you'll look back 20 years from now, and you'll still be referring to it.” Joe Mandese, Mediapost’s TV Board, 3/3/2008

“What better way to track people's video consumption than to have someone follow them around all day -- from the time they wake up until they retire at night -- making detailed notes about when and how they watch, listen, surf, read, play video games, download, text and talk on the phone?”
Hollywood Reporter, 2/26/2008

"In a world where people increasingly watch programming online, on mobile devices and outside the home, this study will help us better understand how people are changing the way they consume media so that we can make informed decisions on how to measure it."
Paul Donato, chief research officer for The Nielsen Co. 
Learn more:


Center for Media Design
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Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. during the academic year, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. during the summer
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