Meet the True Fans

A major 2008 study of group TV viewing and the benefits it offers to advertisers. ITV has published the findings from a large piece of TV research into Event TV.

In partnership with research agency Other Lines of Enquiry, ITV commissioned a detailed ethnographic study of 16 viewing groups and a quantitative study of 5,000 people, to learn more about group viewing behaviour and establish what unique benefits group viewing of particular content offers advertisers, starting with the hypothesis that not all TV viewing is equal.

The results identify viewers who have the strongest relationship with TV as "true fans". They also establish a firm definition of Event TV as being "high-interest content delivered at the right time and place to its true fans".

Event TV works hardest among ‘true fans’ and creates unique qualities, including being highly anticipated, time-sensitive and an experience shared up and down the country, making it the UK’s most talked-about and enjoyed TV.

Rupert Howell, Managing Director of ITV Brand and Commercial, says: "We commissioned this research to provide us and our advertising clients with a deeper understanding of group viewing habits and the level of passion and motivation that true fans show towards Event TV.

"The findings prove that a significant proportion of ITV’s mass audiences are more engaged with Event TV and view in group situations. Crucially, brands advertising around Event TV are more likely to be discussed, considered and purchased by viewers."

The X Factor, one of ITV’s key Event TV shows, continues to dominate Saturday night television. On Saturday 20th September, 10.5m people (average 9.3m, 41.7% share of viewing) tuned in to ITV1 to see Cheryl, Dannii, Simon and Louis judge the last of the public auditions before contestants headed off to boot camp.

Key Findings

For advertisers, Event TV delivers significant increases across key advertiser metrics, including recommendation and brand perceptions:

  • Viewers have a higher level of awareness of ads
  • Ad breaks are more likely to be watched and group viewing stimulates discussion of ads
  • Commercial breaks on ITV are also recognised by viewers as being of higher quality

Event TV unifies families and friends (group viewing) across the week, particularly at weekends.

Event TV viewers are more passionate about television than other viewers – to the extent that they are willing to build their social lives around key televised events.