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The Local TV News Experience: How to win viewers by focusing on engagement Results of an audience survey Bobby J. Calder, PhD

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the local tv news experience how to win viewers by focusing on engagement

The Local TV News Experience:How to win viewers by focusing on engagement

Results of an audience survey

Bobby J. Calder, PhD

Kellstadt Distinguished Professor of MarketingKELLOGG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENTProfessor of JournalismMEDILL SCHOOL OF JOURNALISMNORTHWESTERN

Edward C. Malthouse, PhD

Sills Distinguished Associate Professor of Integrated Marketing Communications


Funded by:

what is engagement
What is Engagement?
  • : “Defining engagement can be a slippery endeavor… A host of definitions for engagement exist already, and many more are emerging (p 6).”
  • Marc (1966): How disappointed a person would be “should the magazine stop publication.”
  • Davina Kent, TiVo: “Engagement is the average time spent in a branded experience.”
what is engagement3
What is Engagement?
  • Mark McLaughlin, Yahoo!: “Operationally, Yahoo! defines Engagement on two dimensions: Loyalty (retention of unique users, new visitors per month, average properties/channels per user) and usage (average minutes per day  average days per month, average page views per visit  visits per month, share of minutes spent online). ….”
  • MI4 Committee Working Definition: “Engagement is turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context.”
  • Mike Pardee, Scripps Networks: “Scripps defines viewer engagement in terms of four factors: ad receptivity, life enhancing, trusted source, and Near & Dear TV.”
engagement usage
Engagement  Usage
  • Instead, Engagement causes usage and me to
    • Be “attentive”
    • Regard it as “one of my favorites”
    • Be “very satisfied” with it or parts of it
    • “Recommend it to a friend”
    • Think “I would miss it if it were no longer published”
  • The absence of Engagement causes me to stop using it
  • Engagement is more fundamental (and actionable) than its consequences. It more actionable because it is more directly under the control of content producers
what is engagement5
What is Engagement?

The collective experiences with contentExperiences are the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of readers about their program





Usage and attentiveness

Experience 1

Experience 2

Affective responses

Experience 3

Reactions to

an ad

published engagement studies
Published engagement studies



Web sites:

our research approach
Our research approach
  • For each medium, qualitative interviews

“I enjoy watching the people doing the news talk with each other.”

  • Experience Monitor Survey to measure all dimensions of experience with a specific TV program, newspaper, magazine, or web site (using 5-point agree-disagree scales)
  • Use exploratory factor analysis to quantify experiences

Anchor camaraderie experience, also indicated by

    • “I feel like I get to know the anchors on the news programs I watch”
    • “The anchors and reporters on the programs I watch are qualified professionals.”
  • Group experiences to find general types of engagement (second-order factors)
  • Evaluate effects on usage (and advertising in the NP, Magazine and Web studies)
  • Look for common experiences across TV, NP, Web and Magazine, allowing for differences in statements

I trust it to tell the truth

You don’t have to worry about accuracy with this site/mag/NP/show

It does not sensationalize things

Trustworthy Experience

It is unbiased in its reporting

They do a good job of covering things. They don’t miss anything

I feel safe in using this site

I would trust this site with any information I give it

Bold items were included on this TV news survey


Watching the news makes a difference in my life

Watching the news makes me feel like a better citizen

It makes me feel more a part of my community

Civic Experience

Our society would be much weaker without TV news / NP

I count on this NP to investigate wrongdoing

I think people who do not read this NP or one like it are at a disadvantage in life

Bold items measure positive emotional experience for TV news


I tend to watch TV news at the same time or times each day

I always go through the same routine when I read it

It helps me get my day started in the morning

Routine Experience

It’s part of my daily routine

I use TV news to get my news for the day

This is one of the sites I always go to when I’m surfing the web

I know the layout well and where to find things

Bold items were included on this TV news survey


It addresses issues or topics of special concern to me

I look at it as educational. I am gaining something

It’s important I remember later what I have read

Makes Me Smarter Experience

It updates me on things I try to keep up with

Even if I disagree with information on this site, I feel I have learned something valuable

The TV news I watch stimulates my thinking about things

Bold items were included on this TV news survey


The stories in the news affect me emotionally

When watching the news, I want to learn how stories end

Some stories on the news touch me deep down

Positive Emotional Experience

I find myself wondering how things could have turned out differently

It features people who make you proud

It helps me to see that there are good people in the world

Bold items measure positive emotional experience for TV news


It is a quiet time

Going to this site improves my mood, makes me feel happier

Reading/watching it is a way of not being bothered by whatever else is going on

It's an escape

Reading is my time alone

I like to kick back and wind down with it

It's a treat for me

Relaxing Experience

The magazine takes my mind off other things that are going on

I like to go to this site when I am eating or taking a break

I feel less stress after reading it

I watch it as much for the entertainment value as for the information value

I lose myself in the pleasure of reading/watching this site/mag/NP/program

It is my reward for doing other things

Bold items were included on this TV news survey


I bring up things I have seen/read on the news in conversations with many other people

I like to talk about national news and current events I read about in it

I give advice and tips to people I know based on things I’ve read

I show things in the newspaper/mag/web to people in my family

Something to Talk About

Reading this mag/site is a little like belonging to an organization or group

I use things from this site in discussions or arguments with people I know

Watching/reading the news makes me a more interesting person


I’m as interested in input from other users as I am in the regular content on this site.

A big reason I like this site is what I get from other users.

On-Line Community Experience

Overall, the visitors to this site are pretty knowledgeable about the topics it covers.

This site does a good job of getting its visitors to contribute or provide feedback.

I’ve gotten interested in causes I otherwise wouldn’t have because of this site.

I’d like to meet other people who regularly visit this site.

Reliability = .86


This newspaper has columns that give good advice

I learn about things to do or places to go in this newspaper

It shows me how to do things the right way

I really like the tips in the magazine

Helps and Improves Me Experience

You learn how to improve yourself from this site.

It helps me make up my mind and make decisions

I look at the magazine as educational. I am gaining knowledge

This site provides information that helps me make important decisions

I get good ideas from this web site

disengagement experiences
Negativity Experience

There is so much sad and scary news that it is hard to watch.

Too much time is spent on negative things.

Not enough effort is made to cover the good things that happen.

They are always trying to catch people or tear them down.

Hype Experience

The local news that I watch covers accidents and crimes way too much.

I wish they would talk less and show me more.

Too much of what they do is done mainly to try to get more people to watch.

The same stories on the news are repeated day after day.

Disengagement experiences
disengagement experiences cont d
Disengagement experiences – cont’d
  • All-the-Same Experience
    • The different news programs I watch are all very similar in the way they do the news.
    • The different news programs all have the same stories.
  • Selective Surfer Experience
    • When watching the television news I try to see what stories are coming up so I can catch the ones I want to see and avoid the ones I don’t.
    • I always wonder what the other news programs are covering when I am watching the news.
    • I pick and choose what I pay attention to on the news.
    • I often turn on the news to see if there is anything going on.
disengagement experiences cont d28
Disengagement experiences – cont’d
  • Background Experience
    • I like to have the television news on in the background while I am doing other things.
    • When I watch the news I prefer to sit and focus on it. (negative loading)
    • While I’m watching, usually the activity going on in the room around me is on my mind.
higher order experiences engagement and disengagement
Higher-order experiences: Engagement and Disengagement



Positive Emotional


Makes me Smarter



Anchor Camaraderie




All news programs the same

Selective Surfer


how do experiences relate to usage
How do experiences relate to usage?
  • We have two measures of usage
    • Number of days watched the show (frequency)
    • Percentage of show typically watched (completion)
  • We form composite measures of usage for other media:
    • Newspapers: RBS = Reader Behavior Score
    • Magazines: RUM = Reader Usage Measure
    • Web: SUM = Site Usage Measure
  • The average of frequency and completion is PUM (Program Usage Measure)

Correlations between experiences & outcomes

  • Top Usage Drivers:
  • Routine
  • Anchor Camaraderie
  • Makes Me Smarter
  • Trustworthy
  • Relaxing
  • Civic

n=1386, bold values are significant at the 0.01 level

Routine strong motivator

Selective Surfing and Background are strong inhibitors

Anchor Camaraderie and Makes Me Smarter are moderate motivators

Relaxing and Trustworthy are weak motivators

Civic, Positive Emotional, Negativity and Hype have little relationship with usage after controlling for other experiences.

Multiple regression shows the top usage drivers (among users):

multiple regression shows the top usage drivers among users
No significant difference across stations

Beware: non-users not included – negativity and hype could be a reason for not viewing

If a program were to do something very different, some experience could become a driver

Multiple regression shows the top usage drivers (among users):
how to use experiences to improve content

Corporate Strategy






How to use experiences to improve content?

Your idea of the best idea of the program for your viewer

Viewer’s thoughts, feelings and beliefs about program

Any time viewer comes in contact with program, e.g., watches, has conversation about program, sees and ad, etc.


Corporate Strategy






How to use experiences to improve content?

Reach people with continuous news about sports

The premier and most innovative sport site by informing, entertaining, engaging, and provoking the first-tier sports fan

Makes Me Smarter, Social, Community, Trustworthy, Entertains and Absorbs Me

Insider content, News Program, Ads, etc.

The local news program that features some stories that you’ll want to think about or talk to other people about…

Scratch your head

Debate with yourself

Talk to others

Stories that will arouse your curiosity, make you think

Things you may want to bring up when talking to other people

Stories you want to give to other people


Better Homes and Gardens congruence:Matching Inspirational, Visual, and Helps and Improves Me experiences
how to use experiences to improve content43


Baseline Measure of Experiences and Usage

Change Program Content

Measure of Experiences and Usage

Measure of Experiences and Usage

How to use experiences to improve content?
does media engagement affect usage and reactions to advertising
Does media engagement affect usage and reactions to advertising?
  • Engagement predicts usage across magazines, Web sites, newspapers, local television news based on correlations and multiple regressions – see papers for details
  • Engagement-Advertising studies:
    • Magazines: Pure Water ad (n=3654, 100 mags)
    • Newspapers: Pure Water ad (n=4100, 101 NPs)
    • Web: iPod & Orbitz banner ads (n=11541, 7 sites)
    • Magazines: Affinity ad copy-testing study (n=25000, 5,000 ads executions, 72 mags)
design of ad studies
Design of ad studies
  • Measure experiences with a specific media outlet
  • Measure confounding variables, e.g., product usage, ad receptivity
  • Show ad that either appeared or tell respondents it will appear in their publication
  • Measure reactions to ad
    • Pure Water: copy test
    • Web: intent to click, copy test
    • Affinity: recall, actions taken
  • Mag and Web studies: context-free control groups

Affinity study: experiences measured after ad measures, no confounding variables measured

5 000 ads 72 magazines 25 000 respondents
5,000 ads, 72 Magazines, 25,000 Respondents

Engaged readers are those with an average of 3.5 or more on the scale.

does media engagement affect advertising
Conclusion: we have shown that Engagement with Web sites, newspapers, and magazines affects reactions to many different ads

See papers for multivariate hierarchical linear model analysis

Conclusion holds across publications, effectiveness measures, and ads, even after controlling for other factors

Some experiences are more closely associated with ad effectiveness than others, depending on publication and ad

Does media engagement affect advertising?