Shaw Media has partnered with market research firm Vision Critical – which specializes in building what it calls “insight communities” – to develop a new online research tool called The Viewers Lounge.
The Toronto-based broadcaster is currently building an online panel of 15,000 people to gather insights into the programming and advertising featured on three of its main TV services: Global Television and the specialty services HGTV and Food Network Canada.
Errol Da-Ré, Shaw’s senior vice-president of sales, said the online panels – which will be comprised of about 5,000 people for each channel – will provide feedback that can be used to enhance both its programming and ad campaigns, particularly the product integration-type programs assembled by its Marketing Ventures team.
Da-Ré said that potential questions for the panel will include their attitudes toward brands featured in integrated campaigns, as well as their propensity to purchase a product or service based on its appearance in a particular show.
“We’re trying to give advertisers as much pre- and post-campaign awareness as possible,” said Da-Re. “It’s more of an insight into the product or service they’re offering on-air. It’s better than doing post-campaign analysis, because this way if it’s day two or three of a four or five-week campaign, we can adapt based on the online panel.”
Da-Re said that Shaw expects to finish populating the panel by late February/early March, with plans to begin soliciting consumer feedback as early as the spring.
The company is currently recruiting panelists through its opt-in HGTV and Food Network Canada newsletters (which have approximately 85,000 and 130,000 subscribers respectively), as well as banner ads and tweets from senior executives including Shaw Media president Paul Robertson and senior vice-president of content Barb Williams.
The Viewers Lounge recruitment page asks potential panel members to provide both demographic information like age, gender and place of residence, as well as insight into their TV viewing habits.
Potential panelists are asked to indicate how many hours a week they spend and where their viewing is allocated, along with questions such as which TV personality they would want to have dinner with and their affinity for different programming genres.
Shaw plans to sell The Viewers Lounge service to advertising clients as part of its advertising packages. Da-Re didn’t disclose the price of the service, but indicated it would be reasonably priced – particularly for the expected value for ad clients.
“It’s added insight that most clients want to invest in from a research perspective,” he said. “I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t want to get involved because [the information] is really valuable.”
Da-Re said that the former Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting (which was acquired by Shaw Media forerunner Canwest for $2.3 billion in 2007) previously used Vision Critical data to shape its marketing campaigns. “It was one of several factors that we used to determine the strength of a particular host or programming genre,” said Da-Re.