The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising - the official body representing British advertising, media and marketing communications agencies - on Wednesday unveiled its ground-breaking new TouchPoints Survey, a cross-industry research initiative.

Conducted for the IPA by Taylor Nelson Sofres, TouchPoints reflects a week in the lives of a 5,010-strong representative sample of the UK adult population in the latter part of 2005.

Informants filled-in a substantial self-completion questionnaire, additionally keeping a PDA time-based diary that logged data every 30-minutes for one complete week. They recorded how they spent their time, their opinions, and the role of media in their lives.

Hailing TouchPoints as the most ambitious UK media research undertaken for a generation, the IPA believes it will impact on how commercial communications are planned in the future.

Its primary objective is to provide communication strategists with a consumer-centric planning tool that analyses how people use the increasingly wide range of media available to them and how this usage fits into their lifestyles.

TouchPoints is designed as a stand-alone survey, albeit compatible with other mainstream media research currencies such as BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) and the National Readership Survey. It also provides the first commercial benchmark for all media, including (for the first time) SMS, direct marketing and the internet.

A snapshot of the research shows that consumers are leading distinctive and individual lifestyles and that TV viewing still dominates over other media including the internet.

In addition to the IPA, other survey sponsors include media owners (including the BBC and ITV) plus a number of advertising and media agencies.

To view key findings from TouchPoint click here.

Data sourced from Institute of Practitioners in Advertising; additional content by WARC staff