ITV Launches Primal Screen

New research identifies that TV content meets a fundamental human need for bonding and leads to stronger engagement with advertising.

ITV has unveiled new research, which has found that television viewing meets a fundamental human need for group bonding in a way no other medium does; with 60% of respondents agreeing that ‘nothing beats TV at bringing people together’. Respondents also agreed that TV was the number one medium for bringing friends, family and the nation together. 80% of 16-24’s agreed that ‘TV is the most likely to make you feel close to you family’. The research looks at the reasons behind why TV can offer brands a unique opportunity to access a highly engaged audience actively seeking to establish relationships with each other and the content they are viewing.

Primal Screen, was conducted with Flamingo and Tapestry, using several experts from their ‘Hive Mind’ – a community of global experts including sociologists, tech theorists and media experts. Flamingo examined what unites us as people, looking in particular at whether the advent of the digital era has had any impact or structurally changed these bonding needs. It also looked in depth at the value of the relationship TV has with viewers and how this translates in to what TV can offer advertisers.

Flamingo also spent time with viewers in their homes and spoke to 3,000 of them across the nation as part of the quantitative study. Over fifty hours of video content (TV shows and TV adverts) that drove high levels of engagement, was analysed using semiotics, with the aim of gaining a comprehensive understanding of how to create media that bonds.

Three key themes emerged from the study: Primal Need, Primal Screen and Primal Connection.

Primal Need

The study identified three key components that are needed for bonding to occur:

1. Collective: A shared reference point, which a particular group can understand, and wants to engage with. Provides shared belief
2. Involved: An experience that requires you to be present and engaged. Ensures shared emotion
3. Transcendent: An experience that lives beyond the moment itself. Connecting beyond themselves

Primal Screen

The research found that around 40% of TV shows generate some kind of bond among viewers. For 16-24’s the figure increased to 48%, higher than any other age group. In addition, the study identified different levels of intensity of bonding with TV content:

• High Intensity Bonding – Occurs when viewers feel a connection with family, friends and the nation
• Moderate Intensity Bonding – Occurs when viewers feel a connection with two of the groups e.g. family and friends or friends and the nation
• Lower Intensity Bonding – Occurs when viewers feel a connection with one of the three groups

During high intensity bonding moments viewers are two times more likely to search for information related to the show they are watching and four times more likely play along with the show using an app or website. The research also identified that high intensity bonding moments can occur across the TV schedule, they are not limited to peak time Saturday night shows.

Primal Connection

68% of respondents said that ITV is for everyone (33% Channel 4, 18% Channel 5) with 44% saying that ITV has the programmes they talk about with their friends the most (30% Channel 4, 11% Channel 5). Importantly for advertisers ITV delivers more high intensity bonding moments that any other commercial channel, 38% higher than the nearest commercial competitor.

The research found that during high intensity TV bonding moments viewers are:
• Two times more likely to feel like more thought had gone into the ads
• Three times more likely to find themselves paying more attention to the ads than normal
• Four times more likely to find out more about the brands advertised

High intensity bonding moments were seen as being highly desirable places for brands to attach themselves to, helping to create deeper experiences with customers.

Kelly Williams, Managing Director, ITV Commercial, said: “Our Primal Screen research shows how television meets a primal human need for bonding; further proof that premium television content is still a massive differentiator in the market. ITV operates at the heart of popular culture offering the most watched, most loved and most talked about content in the UK. We are ideally placed to create these premium ‘bonding’ moments and, building on our unique Fusion partnerships model, offer our advertisers the chance to access a more engaged and responsive audience.”
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