I'm always relieved to hear that not everyone knows exactly what they want exactly when they want it, so I was pleased to come across a bunch of interesting media research in the public domain for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, most of it here. Particularly interesting to me was the study of how viewers currently navigate through their viewing options with Interactive Program Guides (IPG’s) which is the semi-official name for those grids floating over our TV screens when we flick on our digital cable/dvr remotes.
What the research revealed is that despite the many ways we now have to get exactly what we want when we want it (Tivo, Netflix, OnDemand) the majority of television viewing (over 50% the respondents claim) is still driven by general surfing behavior. Unlike the web which, most evidence suggests, is increasingly destination oriented, television remains well suited to the pleasurable of experience of surfing or just seeing “what’s on.”
Also interesting was the way research called attention to the IPG as an important media vehicle. The specific language in the IPG grids had a significant impact on viewing choices both at the primary schedule-matrix level and at the secondary (more-info) level. Intriguing to me because it basically means that networks and anyone interested in getting viewers to tune in should not take the language in grid listings for granted but think of these IPG’s as communication vehicles at least as--if not more--effective than tune-in advertising.