BOSTON: Family programming may be historically under-valued as a new study has claimed TV audiences are more likely to pay closer attention when viewing together.

The finding emerged from trials of TVision Insights technology that uses sensor technology to detect what programming is being watched, who is in the room and what they are doing, undertaken by Mediahub, the media arm of advertising agency Mullen Lowe.

Mediahub placed the technology with 400 people in Boston over a three month period for some of its clients and reported that as the number of people in the room increased, the number of distractions from the programming decreased.

While that finding might be counter-intuitive, a second-by-second analysis confirmed some of what one would expect, such as that in the morning a lower percentage of viewers were in the room when the TV was on and fewer were engaged with the programming.

In a similar vein, the study reported that viewers were significantly more likely to pay attention to a commercial when the brand and the programming were contextually linked.

But the test also showed that shorter ad duration and careful channel and programming placement combined to increase the effectiveness of creative.

For one client 15-second ads garnered four times the attention of 30-second ads when the brand, channel and program were congruent.

More generally, commercials shown on sports channels had better returns, with 15-second spots containing a strong climax and brand recognition audio outperforming placements on traditional programming.

Steve Kalb, SVP and Director of Video Investments for Mediahub and Mullen Lowe, welcomed 'the contextual analysis to understand true TV viewability and engagement at every second, and how specific advertisements perform in terms of attention and reaction'.

This built on standard ratings data that supply information about viewership and household demographics. 'It marries the positive aspects of both TV and digital video measurement data,' noted Kalb.

Data sourced from TVision Insights; additional content by Warc staff