As we wade knee-deep into the presidential race, often called, the “silly season,” I’d like to turn my readers’ attention to the relationship between how people vote and what they watch. One of the cool things about having millions of TV sets to play with is the ability to set up robust segmentation systems that actually work in the marketplace. This is what Rentrak has done in the political arena by creating seven groups of homes: Very Liberal, Somewhat Liberal, Middle of the Road, Somewhat Conservative, Very Conservative, Low Involvement and Mixed. Households were scored on their viewership to 50 programs identified in surveys as being very liberal or very conservative. Low Involvement homes watched hardly any of these shows, and Mixed Households watched a lot of both conservative and liberal shows. (See the grid below.)
This system works really well in terms of showing the alignment between voting and viewing. Going back to the days of yesteryear, e.g. January, we compared the viewership composition of the Republican debate prior to the primary election by counties that Mitt Romney won and Newt Gingrich (remember him?) won. It is clear that the viewers in the 34 counties who voted for Romney were more moderate and liberal, and the viewers in the 33 counties who voted for Gingrich were more conservative. Perhaps if Gingrich had used Rentrak’s data to place more targeted ads against moderates in the Romney counties he could have done better?
Being able to identify the political leanings of viewers can be a powerful aid in more efficiently placing the huge amounts of money political campaigns spend. Maybe “silly” can now be replaced with “sensible.”
In case you don’t know, I am Bruce Goerlich, Chief Research Officer at Rentrak, the global standard in movie measurement and your TV Everywhere measurement and research company. I have been in the research end of the marketing business for more than 30 years primarily on the ad agency side, with my last stint prior to Rentrak in the role of President, Strategic Resources Zenith Optimedia North America. Somewhere along the way I morphed from young Turk to old fogey. Now that I have grey hair and am horizontally-challenged, I can speak with some authority on advertising and research issues – which I will do from time-to-time on this blog.