Agency bosses' media habits are 'not representative' of average Britons

Media agency bosses spend much less time consuming newspapers, TV and radio than the average adult and should recognise their own habits are "not necessarily representative of the audiences they're trying to reach", according to a study.

The Sample of One study by Newsworks, the trade body for UK newspaper owners, and the IPA wanted to investigate whether London agency bosses are "living in a media bubble".

Four London-based agency chiefs, MEC’s Tom George, MediaCom London’s Luke Bozeat, Havas Media’s Natasha Murray and All Response Media’s CJ Court, filled out an IPA TouchPoints diary for a week in July and their media habits were compared to those of the general public.

The four agency bosses read newspapers either in print or online on most days but they spend only 39 minutes reading a printed paper compared to 57 minutes for the average adult aged 40 to 55 outside London.

Similarly, the agency chiefs spend 23 minutes looking at an online newsbrand compared to 50 minutes for the average adult of the same age outside London.

The media agency leaders opt for upmarket titles and shun the more popular red-tops.

Research into their TV viewing also shows big differences. The media agency bosses spend 1.4 hours a day watching TV compared to 3.7 hours per day for an adult aged 40 to 55 outside London.

The media bosses spend almost double the amount of time emailing as the average adult and also spend more time talking on a mobile phone. However, they spend less time on social media and messaging services, according to the study. 

Newsworks carried out the research to show agency bosses that their personal consumption habits could be skewing their media planning – hence why the study has been called Sample of One – and they may need to reconsider the value of traditional, mainstream media.

Bozeat, joint managing director at MediaCom London, said: "This serves as a good reminder not to assume your own behaviour can be applied to others simply because they share your demographics."

Denise Turner, insight director at Newsworks, will present the findings of the Sample of One study at the IPA TouchPoints7 launch on 15 September.

She said: "This project demonstrates the importance of research like IPA TouchPoints, which gives us insights into the lives of a wide variety of target audiences, so we can plan more effectively how to reach them."

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