#DSInvestor – 2010 Arbitron Study

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

In light of the recent 25% growth figures released by the Digital Place-based Advertising Association late last month for the digital out-of-home industry’s first half of 2010 – a figure that has some analysts at this conference scratching their heads as to what/what not was included – it was refreshing to hear Diane Williams, senior media research analyst, Arbitron Inc., explain her company’s take on who is watching the industry’s product mix.

According to Arbitron’s 2010 Digital Place-based Video Study, in an average month, 70% of U.S. adults and teens viewed a digital video display (ie. DOOH or digital signage), and 52% saw one in an average week. This was based on 1,753 telephone respondents in a survey conducted earlier this year and involved 18 different venue types across the country.

Significantly, 19% of those who saw a DOOH ad made an unplanned purchase after viewing an ad on a screen.

In the 18-49 age group, the media reach of DOOH ranked ahead of newspapers, Facebook and Internet video, surpassed only by television, radio and the Internet. But overall, who is watching what and where?

“The audience is gender neutral,” said Williams. “We over-deliver in the 28-34 age group, and under-deliver in the 42-54 age group. People are watching everywhere: at retail, at entertainment venues like theatres, casinos and arenas, and at what we call utility – everything like medical offices, business and gas bars.”

The top places where DOOH is seen include grocery stores, malls, large retail or department stores, movie theatres and medical offices.

“You might be selling the medium short if you are only looking at the number of people present at the venue, because the percentage of viewership may be high,” said Williams. “And you also have to consider the mindset at the venue. For example, 21% of U.S. teen and adult residents – about 54 million people – have visited an airport in the past month but 52% of those – or about 28 million – of those who visited the airport viewed a digital video.”

And while rushing through the checking lines at the airport may preclude one’s noticing a screen at that point, once one is checked in and waiting in a more relaxed state, one is more likely to watch, and later recall having watched a digital screen.

One the other hand, 41% of U.S. teen and adult residents – about 106 million people – have visited a hospital or medical test facility in the past month but only 33% % of those – or about 34 million – who visited the facility watched a digital video. It could be that age or anxiety played a role in recall.

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