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article imageYour Cellphone as an Advertisement Barometer?

By Jason Li     Oct 14, 2008 in Entertainment
We're bombarded with a deluge of advertisements everyday: billboards, TV, radio, newspapers, online... the list goes on. But how effective are they? A media research company is working on a new way to test their efficiency - using your cellphone!
As the current economic instability leads to firms being more cautious with their ad dollars, a company called Integrated Media Measurement (IMMI) is studying how cellphones can track what ads customers are exposed to, by analyzing the ads' audio segments.
A software is downloaded onto a cellphone, enabling it to pick up soundbites from an ad - it can be TV, Radio or in a cinema. The software translates the audio into digital codes.
By comparing these digital codes to a database of advertisements, the company is able to figure out what ads the user is watching or listening to.
But that's not all. The software can also measure how effective a particular ad is.
According to The Wall Street Journal:
To get a handle on the effectiveness of a given ad, IMMI's data can show, for example, when a panel member is exposed to a movie trailer on TV and whether that same consumer later goes to see the movie. Similarly, IMMI data can show if a panelist watching a promo for a TV program will later watch the show, either on TV or online. IMMI thinks it can expand that idea from films and TV shows to consumer products like shampoo or toothpaste. It is testing its technology with a national grocery store chain.
The nascent technology has already attracted big names in the media industry, including NBC and ABC. ESPN has already signed up for the service.
Alan Wurtzel, the president of research at NBC, said: "I'm convinced the handset will be the way we will measure media going forward."
IMMI is helping NBC gauge viewers' response to its programs like "Heroes".
But the technology cannot measure all advertising forms. It cannot handle ads without sound, meaning print ads and silent Internet ads can't be processed.
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