News Media Less Effective at Conveying Ad Messages

December 2, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Broadcast & Cable | Magazines | Newspapers | Television

Only 28% of the audience of an average news program, website or magazine gets valuable information about products and services advertised there, making news venues less effective at conveying ad messages than all forms of media combined, according to consumer research from Experian Simmons.


The? latest Simmons Multimedia Engagement? Study (MME) study – which tracks consumer behavior in relation to 1,000 different magazines, TV programs/networks and websites in English and Spanish – also finds that consumers are less likely to purchase products and services they see advertised on news media, and are less apt to say? products and services advertised on news media are high quality.

Simmons’ Key Dimensions of Engagement

The MME defines and examines five key dimensions of engagement (Trust, Inspiration, Life Enhancement, Social Interaction and Personal Timeout) and examines how each plays an important role not only in how media connects with its audience via content, but also in how such media gets consumers to notice and pay attention to the advertising messages that support and make possible most major media.

The five dimensions of engagement:

  • Inspirational: If a media program, magazine or internet site ranks high in this dimension, it means that consumers are inspired by it and have an emotional connection to it.
  • Trustworthy: A high score for this dimension indicates that consumers trust a particular program, magazine or website and believe it is telling the truth without sensationalizing.
  • Life Enhancing: A high Life-Enhancing score indicates consumers feel they are always learning about new things and places from a particular program, magazine or website. What they learn, in turn, helps them make better life decisions.
  • Social Interaction: A high score in this dimension means that a program, magazine or website constantly provides fodder for conversations with friends and family.
  • Personal Timeout: Programs, magazines or websites that score high in this dimension provide an escape for consumers, who like to relax and unwind while reading or watching them.

News Media Rankings

Not surprisingly, Americans gave news media highest marks for Social Interaction, indicating that they regularly talk with friends and family about things they see on news programs or read about in news magazines or on online news sites.


News media also get high scores for Trust, meaning that while other research has shown Americans don’t necessarily trust “the media” at-large, consumers believe that the news they personally consume provides them with accurate and trustworthy information, Experian Simmons said.

In terms of specific media, news magazines rate higher for Trust than online and TV news, but news websites are considered more Life Enhancing.

Among the TV and magazine news properties evaluated, Experian Simmons found that the most talked about news property is The Drudge Report, followed by The New York Times, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The O’Reilly Factor and The Wall Street Journal.

Of the same 48 news properties, Google News was the least likely to generate any type of social interaction. Next to last was MSNBC’s Morning Joe, followed by Yahoo News, and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric .

Paradoxically, the study revealed that the dimensions of Trust and Social Interaction don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, according to Experian Simmons. The most-talked-about Drudge Report scored 12% above average for Social Interaction and ranked #1 in that dimension, while scoring 10% below average for Trust, for which it ranked #46.

News media gets the lowest overall scores in the Personal Timeout dimension. This means that when Americans want to escape, the last place they’ll turn it to the news, Experian said.

However, TV programs that regularly feature news satire such as The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and Saturday Night Live are less engaging than real news except when it comes to the Personal Timeout dimension.


About the research: Study findings are taken from the latest release of the Experian Simmons Multi-Media Engagement Study (MME) conducted between July 2007 and June 2008. The annual study continuously tracks the five key ways? consumers engage with the content of the media they consume across over 1,000 different television, magazine and Internet media vehicles in both English and Spanish. The sample comprises 68,000 respondents each year.


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