JUNE 23, 2014

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Crowded Subway Rides Could Be a Good Thing for Advertisers

Americans who commute via public transportation spend an average of 48 minutes in each direction every day, and a new study suggests that those crowded rides that we all love to hate may be a gold mine for advertisers. Researchers from Temple University, NYU and Sichuan University collaborated with a major telecom provider in China and sent a text-message promotion to Chinese subway riders. They found that the more crowded the train, the more likely commuters were to purchase the promoted service. The effect was especially strong during an unexpected traffic intervention, when the trains were held due to a high-security police escort for an important politician. The researchers hypothesize that in order to compensate for the loss of personal space and to avoid accidental eye contact, commuters become immersed in their mobile devices. As a result, they become more involved in the mobile ads and consequently are more likely to make a purchase.

So what?

The findings could have interesting implications for magazines and digital editions, which are the reading material of choice for many commuters. When advertisers decide on their marketing mix, they should keep in mind that those platforms can allow them to reach consumers at times when they are more receptive to their messaging. There is also an opportunity to take advantage of technological advancements like dynamic ad serving to try targeting ads to people when they are on their daily commute.

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Reuters Institute: Digital Allows for New Players in News Space

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism studied the digital news habits of nearly 19,000 people in ten countries, including the United States. The 2014 Digital News Report found that mobile and multi-platform consumption are becoming more commonplace, but willingness to pay for digital news still remains fairly low (11% of those surveyed paid for online news last year). One in five news consumers now say that their smartphone is their primary access point for news and two of five report using at least two devices to track news each week. In the United States, pure players like MSN, Yahoo and Huffington Post (52%) have more reach among digital news consumers than newspaper sites (33%) and broadcaster sites (48%). In other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Germany, the traditional news outlets have maintained more digital reach than pure players. Other countries are also more likely to have consumers that read news both online and in print from the same newspaper, whereas in the United States consumers are more likely to choose one or the other. While most news consumers have not paid for news (89% in U.S. did not pay for digital news last year), those that do are more likely to be male, educated and older. They are also more likely to be enticed by the ability to access content on their device and consider themselves very interested in the news. Of the countries surveyed, Brazilians are the most likely to have paid for digital news.


So what?

This report is quite comprehensive and features more useful data points and comparisons among countries surveyed in the attached. There are a multitude of challenges and opportunities for digital news businesses outlined. Digital has made it easier for content providers with little pedigree in a category (news serving as just one example) to become disruptive forces. While that trend allows many of our brands to play in new spaces they would not have been in 10 years ago, it also comes with the continual challenge of defining and contending with a new set of competitors. 

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Food & Drink
Trying to Eat Healthier, Americans Monitor and Restrict Their Daily Diets

When it comes to eating habits, almost nine in ten US consumers say they make an effort to eat healthy according to a new study from The Harris Poll. Three in five consumers report that they or someone in their household monitors or restricts at least one nutritional component in their diet. Thinking about how they manage their diet or weight, 82% of Americans feel that protein is important, 78% think calories are important, and about two in three agree that fat, whole grains, saturated fat, and sugars are important to managing their diet/weight. Sugar, salt/sodium, and carbohydrates are considered the top offenders, with about one in three households monitoring or restricting their intake of each. When comparing different age groups, Millennials are more likely to consider organic, lactose, gluten and vegan descriptions when trying to decide on food purchases.

So what?

While Americans may not be dieting the same ways they have in the past, they are restricting their diets in other ways. As most Americans say they have an eye toward healthy eating, marketers can create appetizing content by appealing to consumers’ desire for fresh, fiber-laden, portion-controlled foodstuffs. Marketing food to Millennials could also benefit from touting foods’ organic or vegan elements.

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Binge-viewing Has Gone Mainstream

Binge-viewing video content has gone global and mainstream, according to video technology company ARRIS’s 2014 Consumer Entertainment Index. Four in five consumers admit to binge-viewing in the past, and the majority of respondents binge-view at least once a month. Overall, a traditional television set is currently the top device consumers use to watch multiple programs sequentially (36%), but laptops (32%), desktop computers (27%), and smart TVs (23%) are all close behind. Millennials differ in their viewing habits, as they are more likely to binge-view on laptop computers, rather than standard TV sets. 


So what?

With binge-viewing becoming a popular way to consume video, content creators are rethinking how to best release their content. One benefit from making all episodes of a series or program available at once is that consumers can conveniently view many episodes in one sitting, and hopefully form a deeper connection with the content.

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Quick Takes
Articles That Evoke Awe Are Most Likely to Go Viral

Source: Buzzsumo, Statista, Business Insider
Male Life Expectancy Longest in Iceland; Japan for Women

Source: World Health Organization
Amazon Prime Members Heavily Outspend Non-Prime Customers

Source: RBC Capital Markets, Statista
28% of Affluent Europeans (Top 13% of Population) Own A Smartphone, Computer & Tablet

Source: Ipsos
Condé Nast
Feedback, questions, ideas for future issues? Please contact:

Phil Paparella
Condé Nast Research & Insights | Associate Director
1166 6th Avenue, 14th fl. | NY, NY 10036 | office 212.790.6044 | philip_paparella@condenast.com

Tamar Rimmon | Senior Manager, Digital Analytics
Robyn Hightower | Manager, Research & Insights