The press coverage of my report "Making Sense of New Video Consumption Behaviors" — and especially the number they highlighted that 46% of the "core" TV audience watches linear TV in a typical month — raised a lot of questions (and skepticism!) on the Research Wonks list serve. I figure if they had those questions, others might, too, so here is the response I posted there:

"The media always looks for the headline-grabbing, shocking, number and the 46% watch linear certainly qualifies. I used this number in passing to set up the report so before I address the methodology questions, let me share the core conclusion of the report: consumer video consumption behaviors are different enough across generations that planners need to break out of past planning routines and account for these different behaviors. Toward the end of the report I say:

A goal of 100 gross rating points (GRPs) against an 18-to-49 audience is merely an average across this entire audience; if the placements are skewed to linear TV, it will likely deliver too many ads to the 35-to-49 segment and not deliver enough to the 18-to-34 group.

The 46% number doesn't comment on the number of hours, and the data we capture is very broad here, but even it shows that linear is still the larger number of hours.

In the report I say that linear is the “main dish” that must be complemented with “side dishes” like streamed sources and addressable plus “desserts” like professional short-form video to present a balanced video ad diet. (Yes, I really tortured that metaphor!)

We don’t pitch Consumer Technographics as a media planning tool – it is a survey of consumer technology usage. We use the data to highlight a trend like this and counsel our clients to question processes and assumptions that may be out of date.

I’m happy to talk in more detail with any of you about this purpose of the report and the state of the TV business.

Now on to the methodology:

Age 18-58: I very intentionally narrowed the audience to be the “core” TV audience (A 18-49 or 25-54), knowing that P 18+ would skew higher viewing hours and more linear. But old guys like me (and David Poltrak 😉 aren’t a high priority for marketers, so my goal was to cut out some of this “noise” to get a clearer picture of that core audience. 

Online panel: yes, this is an online panel, and we have a great research operations team that works to get high-quality data. Here's what they said in response to this question: The sample is adults age 18–88 who access the Internet at least weekly. We've weighted these data by age, gender, income, broadband adoption, and region of the country to be demographically representative of the adult US online population. We source our respondents from a number of reputable sample providers in the industry and our research operations team vets them for stringent sampling methods to insure the quality of the sample. Our data shows that 85% of the noninstitutional US adult population aged 18-88 is online by this definition so the impact of focusing specifically on an online sample has diminished over time.
Self-report: yes, it is self-reported viewing behaviors, so they may well under-report viewing out-of-home and maybe even things like when the TV is on in the background while making dinner, getting dressed in the morning, etc. that a people meter would register. Knowing the methodology is important for any research so you can factor in its limitations as you weigh the data.

I’m also happy to refer you to our research team if you have other questions about the methodology.