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MRG Conference: Daily Life Study Gets Digital

02 Dec 2002  |  MediaTel Staff 

Comparing himself to Jack Bauer from BBC2's 24, Chris Mundy, head of research at BBC TV, used television's first real time drama to illustrate how the Daily Life Survey is being brought up to date.

The study tracks people around the clock looking at where they are, what they are doing, their exposure to media and even their state of mind.

The BBC tracked media consumption habits throughout the 20th Century but as media becomes more disparate and the channels more numerous, can people really be expected to recall the minutiae of daily life?

To address this dilemma, PDAs replaced traditional paper diaries in a pilot study conducted by TNS. Richard Marks, Director of TNS Media, explained the methodologies behind the pilot. The PDAs had simple questionnaires, participants were given clear instructions and any irrelevant functionality was disabled to both simplify the process and discourage theft.

Despite just a £10 incentive, response rates and data quality were both markedly improved. 88% returned their PDAs making it cheaper than using the traditional paper diaries which were often thrown away. It was also a more effective way of reaching male and youth audiences without losing the over-55s and qualitative research found that users were positive about the 3-day experience.

To ascertain the robustness of the data, Mundy went on to compare the results with a huge two year study conducted by the Office of National Statistics and found favourable comparisons between that and earlier life studies conducted by the BBC.

Encouraged by these results, the BBC has now commissioned a major study with the first data release expected in January 2003 and Mundy believes the results will be invaluable for this tri-media organisation.

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