Advertisers are extracting some benefits from increased advertising minutage on ITV, despite initial concerns that it could cause too much clutter.
Research from CIA Media- lab, which looks at the level of ad recall following the introduction of increased advertising minutage, reveals that while longer ad breaks do not benefit advertisers, the use of more centre breaks does improve viewer recall.
CIA, through its sister company OHAL, has based its results on 16,000 observations using econometric techniques. It compares the break pattern for ITV's show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? before and after increased minutage was introduced.
On 7 September, 11 minutes of ads ran across two end and two centre breaks.
On 19 October, 13.5 minutes ran during one end break and three centre breaks. The latter represented the same number of ad breaks, but the pattern led to a 1 per cent improvement in recall for each advertiser on average, than during the programme on 7 September.
CIA believes that if the 2.5 extra minutes had been funnelled into the same pattern of end-centre-centre-end breaks, the advertising effectiveness would have dropped by 4 per cent on average, which would have negated the point of increasing advertising minutage to gain greater commercial audience delivery.
Commenting on the findings, David Fletcher, the head of CIA Medialab, said: 'There are further gains to be had if ITV can schedule more shorter breaks. We estimate that a five-break pattern for Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
would increase advertising effectiveness by a further 6 per cent. This is a ten-point swing between best practice and the worst scenario, and is worth lobbying for.'
Fletcher added that the concept of increased minutage as a whole is not beneficial to advertisers.
'Our long-term view remains the same - that extra minutage in itself is not in advertiser's interests, but the way that ITV has combined extra advertising minutage nets out in the advertisers' interests.'
John Hardie, the commercial and marketing director for the ITV Network, said: 'It's interesting research and confirms we are doing some smart thinking. However, we think that a measure which looks at the relationship between the advertising environment and purchasing.'
In its eagerness to retain viewers and not lose them to the BBC, ITV has dropped the advertising end break after Millionaire and run straight into The Frank Skinner Show.
Hardie said: 'For the short term, we will continue to use this strategy and expand it.'