A study commissioned by A+E Networks concluded fast-forward disabling did not have any “adverse effects” to the program viewing experience via Video On Demand, nor did it negatively impact intent to continue using VOD.
The study of about 350 VOD viewers was conducted by MediaScience; viewers were randomly allocated into different viewing conditions with fast forwarding either enabled or disabled during the viewing session. Viewers were monitored for their biometric (electrodermal) response during the session while cameras captured facial muscle movement for analysis of their emotional response to both programs and ads. Pre-and-post surveys were also administered to gauge differences during the test sessions.
To the surprise of no one, the study found that ad impact improves dramatically when fast forwarding is disabled; viewer aided-recall of ads increased by more than 50%. The study also concluded, however, that there was no adverse consequence to the program viewing experience when viewers could not speed through ads. There was no reduction to either program enjoyment, entertainment or engagement and no change in VOD usage intent, VOD satisfaction or VOD utility, the study concluded. A+E said the study also demonstrated that fast forward disabling was actually good for viewers — in that it prevented them from overshooting past the resumption of programming, a problem, the company says occurs for more than 50% of all viewing.
The company did not say what was the margin of error to the findings.
“Until now, there has been a lot of uncertainty about the potential tradeoffs associated with fast forward disabling. Now, with the benefit of this research, we’re confident that it represents a win-win proposition for advertisers, programmers and distributors alike,” said Julya Fridman, A+E Network’s Vice President, Multiplatform and Distribution Analytics.