A Remarkable Enumeration Study
The 2021 ARF Universe Study of Device and Account Sharing (ARF DASH) is a rigorous, single-source enumeration study whose purpose is to produce unbiased measures for assigning digital devices, streaming and ecommerce accounts to individuals and households.
This includes detecting co-viewing, device sharing and cross-platform usage, as well as assigning different devices to the same household. The multimodal study generates a holistic view of capability and usage across digital devices and media, which is useful for estimating universes and addressing biases and gaps in census level data.
The ARF is offering licenses to the study results to its members and non-members, with the goal of creating a cost-efficient, accurate and comprehensive standard for the benefit of the industry. Seven companies, representing a cross-section of the industry, sponsored the development work. The study will be conducted annually. The ARF also plans to pursue MRC accreditation for it.
Household Device and Account Usage
The nature and scale of digital media presents unprecedented challenges for researchers, product developers and strategists, who need a precise and cohesive understanding of device and account sharing and usage at the individual and household levels.
Nearly every digital media user has multiple profiles across a wide array of service categories. Users share TVs, gaming consoles, tablets, PCs and other devices within their households. What’s more, millions share access to their streaming media and ecommerce accounts with family and friends. Complicating the matter further, each provider’s view of usage and usage dynamics is limited to its own system and “footprint.”
Some companies conduct their own enumeration studies or try to piece together disparate datasets to estimate this universe, but these approaches can be expensive and produce limited, non-standard results. The ARF DASH Study addresses these challenges in a unique and unprecedented way. The idea is to create a cost-efficient set of data and measures that everyone in the industry can rely on.
Unraveling Cross-Platform and Cross-Device Usage
The ARF has partnered with NORC at the University of Chicago in developing the survey and conducting the fieldwork against a national probability sample of 10,000 persons, age 18 and older, with an additional sample of teens users ages 13-17. NORC’s proprietary AmeriSpeak panel forms the backbone of the sample plan. Interviews have been conducted online, in person and by phone to ensure a representative sample. Meanwhile, NORC panel registrations provide respondent and household demographics. NORC’s rigorous audit process ensures high-quality response data. The study also offers recontact capability for follow-up analyses.
In total, this study produces a comprehensive device graph, which includes individual device ownership, usage and sharing among household members and supports the householding of otherwise unconnected devices.
The study also gathers data on TV brands, locations, service modes and capabilities, in addition to device-by-device usage and respondents’ viewing and co-viewing across live and streaming media services (including both ad supported and subscription). The survey includes in-depth modules on ecommerce, streaming audio and social media account usage and sharing, as well as usage of apps and privacy settings.
The first wave of the study was conducted in June. The second wave, which includes online, face-to-face and phone interviews, runs September to December, with results due in February 2022. The intention is to update the study annually.
Licensing the Results
The ARF is offering licenses to the 2021 results data in three tiers, starting at $75,000, a fraction of the cost of conducting a similarly comprehensive study yourself.
Tier levels include:
- Basic offers summary-level data in a Tableau and Heroku dashboards for panel weighting, sample balancing, modeling household device and account topographies and many strategy and insights applications.
- Basic Plus adds a non-matchable, anonymized, respondent-level database for custom segmentation, profiling and analysis.
- Premium features a privacy-compliant, respondent-level database that can be matched to the licensee’s customer, census level data or research database, using a third-party integrator. The ARF’s integration partner for this study, Experian, has developed an integration protocol using its ConsumerView panel and is offering its service to Premium licensees.