T.V. is a part of most Americans life, especially for moms. Their children watch television, and consequently so do they. In a blog on MediaPost, writer Petra Arbutina, asks a very good question: “Are these moms really engaged in the programming when they’re watching television with their families?” I would think that the answer is…no. As I mentioned in an earlier post, women are “multi-minders.” Though there may be something on the tv, it doesn’t mean that mom is paying the least bit of attention. More than likely, there are a million and one things running through her head and the commercial for a new soap scum remover that plays during her child’s afternoon show is just another distraction. As Ms. Arbutina says about her personal experience,
“Though my television may be on, there’s a good chance I lost the story line within five minutes of the show starting. And there’s even less chance that I’m going to catch the commercials.”
Ms. Arbutina also states that moms control $4 billion in annual ad spend, so it is absolutely critical to get their attention. But how do you get someone’s attention who’s concentration is likely to be split between so many things?
For the the blog, Ms. Arubutina and her associates at Media Post conducted research with over 400 moms who have children under the age of 12 living in their homes. They found that:
- 75% of respondents watch certain shows with their children.
- 50% of respondents indicated that they’re likely to be doing other things while watching television with their children. (This could mean that though they are watching the program, they aren’t engaging in it.)
- Women with very small children indicated that it was “impossible for anyone to watch anything in the house when the kids are up.”
- Women with older children experienced phases of “family TV viewing” where they watched shows targeted to their kids’ age group between ages 4-7.
- Interestingly, as the kids get older, women become more engaged in the programming as they come to share favorite shows with their kids, such as “American Idol” and “Survivor.”
- The respondents indicated that ultimately they can only truly engage in what’s on the television when their children aren’t present. (This was a consistent response among all respondents regardless of the age of the children.)
- 81% of our survey respondents stated that they have “their shows” that they watch during what they deem to be their “me time.” This offers them an “escape” from the daily pressures of work and family.
- Women are also prone to “time-shift” their preferred programming by DVRing their favorite shows or visiting On Demand, network websites and Hulu.com to re-watch shows or catch episodes they’ve missed.
What does this mean?
According to the research, if moms are watching TV with their children they are not probably not engaging with programs that their children are enjoying. I think its easy to conclude that if they aren’t engaging with the programs, they are definitely not engaging with the commercials. The research also shows that mom wants to watch TV during her “me-time” when interruptions from the kids are minimal. If you are advertising on television, try to get spots on more “grown-up” shows that mom will watch by hersef.
Unfortunately not every mom’s “me-time” is going to be the same. As stated in the last bullet point, mom is using technology such as DVR and websites such as HULU to make her favorite programing fall in line with her self-mandated “me-time.”
So how do you connect?
By going online. Moms are a huge part of the blogosphere and online world. By connecting with her online, you are going where she goes. You may want to gain her attention by advertising on websites where she goes to watch her programs. If she is making time to go online and “engage” in her favorite programs, try to extend her engagement beyond the actual program. Ms. Arbutina suggests doing things such as online sweepstakes or interactive quizzes.
Bottom line…don’t assume that just because the TV is on mom is watching.