The TouchPoints initiative , launched back in 2006 in the U.K., is entering the U.S. thanks to the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement  (remember our recent ‘Shall We Line Up To Get A Free iPhone ?’ article – that’s them again).
Jane Clarke, managing director at CIMM, announced the research project – based on the U.K. Institute of Practitioners in Advertising ’s IPA TouchPoints service and licensed by the Media Behavior Institute . It will get underway in September, fielded by MBI in partnership with GfK MRI .
IPA TouchPoints has provided the media industry in the U. K. a single source of media planning data, which cuts across a range of media including TV, radio, print, online and mobile.
“A new media world requires new tools for measurement,” said Colleen Fahey Rush, executive vice-president, strategic insights and research for MTV Networks  and chairman of the CIMM Executive Board. “Developing these tools is the mission of CIMM. As we approach the first anniversary of CIMM’s founding, we’re pleased to be launching this innovative US version of TouchPoints.”
“We scoured the globe to find the most consumer-centric cross-platform approaches before identifying and initiating a thorough consultant-led study of U.K. Touchpoints,” says Clarke. “It is by far the most comprehensive and provides the best way to link cross-media measurement and understand media usage in the context of daily life activities. We’re delighted to be partnering with MBI to bring this innovative measurement tool to the US Media industry.”
The project will include a sample of 1,000 men and women aged 18-54 drawn from respondents who have completed GfK MRI’s widely used ‘Survey of the American Consumer’, and will employ eDiaries (that’s via iPhones, as expected) in which participants will record their media behavior at 30-minute intervals over 10 days. That data will be fused with existing media measurement services. This ‘hub and fusion’ approach to cross-platform media measurement provides a time-based way of understanding consumers’ media behavior. The final database will, for the first time in the U.S., allow media planners, buyers and sellers a look into the full picture of how respondents use all types of media and how to measure unduplicated reach across all media.
The study will run from September 2010 to February 2011. CIMM members will have exclusive, unlimited access to the Hub Database and the Integrated Channel Planning Tool for six months.
“The Media Behavior Institute was formed to address the growing need for more actionable multimedia planning insights,” says Bill Moult, MBI’s CEO. “Working with CIMM enables us to realize this critical capability with the full support of the industry we plan to serve. We can’t imagine a better way to launch USA TouchPoints.”
As for the iPhones, we’re told that the first session is a pilot project, and details are still being ironed out whether the research will continue with the same people and iPhones, or what will happen to the iPhones afterwards – or even whether the people participating will use their own iPhones.