Monday, October 08, 2007

Media Consumption Amongst America's Business Elite

Great survey from Ipsos Media

America’s business elite – senior executives, CEOs and other C-suite officers from mid- to large-size companies, including many from the Fortune 500 – have a ferocious appetite for quality business information. This is one of the latest findings from Ipsos Media’s BE: USA 2007 - the media survey of the United State’s business elite, acknowledged as the most accurate and well regarded survey conducted amongst the business elite. The survey’s results offer a unique opportunity to peek into the minds of corner office America and understand the way they consume and use media.

America’s business elite is a group of high powered, highly influential decision makers that are very media savvy, acquiring their information from a variety of media sources, including magazines and journals, the internet, and digital and satellite television. Despite the rise of internet use, top business leaders still rely on newspapers and magazines for news and information, using a mix of traditional and new media to get the information they need.

Ipsos Media’s BE: USA 2007 survey shows that America’s 630,000 senior business executives represent over 72,000 companies. This group is responsible for over $1.7 trillion in annual expenditures – a figure greater than the gross domestic product of Italy, or that of Russia and Australia combined – and look after the interests of 144 million employees, approximately two thirds of the US workforce, or half the nation’s adult population.

America’s business elite form a formidable economic force. On average, the individual annual is approximately $408,000. As a group, they garner a total combined annual income of $246 billion with combined personal net worth valued at over $1 trillion. A significantly powerful and affluent group, these individuals are highly educated, motivated, and are eager to acquire new knowledge and quality information. Interestingly, more than half said money was not their key motivation, showing quality of life is a high priority amongst the business elite.

The survey also examines the typical business leader's way of life - showing they travel frequently, spend more nights in hotels, and are heavy users of technology as part of their work life. They also enjoy the perks of their positions in their personal lives, valuing personal luxuries the latest technical gadgets, and a high quality of life with their family and friends. When compared to their European and Asian counterparts, American executives have a greater taste for personal material luxuries and claim a significantly higher net worth.

Media Consumption Patterns
America's business elite have a healthy appetite for information and media consumption, in particular, when the information helps them make better and more informed business decisions.
The internet is becoming a major source of information, with over two thirds spending more time reading business information on the web than in the past. Although executives view the internet as being a particularly good source for business news updates, only 7% are willing to pay for online business news.

Websites also prove to be important for improving a business publication’s overall offering, even more so than websites for TV channels. Over three quarters claim a website is an important part of a business publication’s overall offering, while only a third claim that a website is an important part of a TV channel’s overall offering.

Other top level findings from the survey uncovered that:

  • Nine in ten have read the last issue of any print media
  • Seven in ten have watched any Network TV channel in the previous day
  • Six in ten have watched any Cable TV channel in the previous day
  • Just over half went online in the previous day
  • Seven in ten have received a daily email alert or newsletter in the last month
  • Nearly half have streamed or watched a broadband video from computer in the last month
  • A third have read a blog in the last month, but only 5% have actually contributed.
  • Nearly a quarter have downloaded a podcast in the last month.
About the Survey
This is the second year for the Business Elite survey in the United States, a syndicated annual survey conducted by Ipsos Media with the top business leaders in the country. The survey has been conducted in Europe since 1973, and is will be conducted on an annual basis in Europe, the USA, Asia, Japan, Australia, South America, and the Middle East. Future US studies will be released in the fall of each year.

BE:USA 2007 is the only syndicated research product in the United States measuring the media habits, attitudes, and behaviors of the nation’s business elite. As part of the global survey, Ipsos measures business leaders from all around the world, offering the only syndicated media global database of any kind.

Data for this study were collected by survey questionnaires dispatched by mail and available online beginning February 8, 2007, with returns accepted until July 27, 2007. A total of 2,390 responses were collected. This sample size can be used project the attitudes, behaviors, and consumption patterns of the survey universe.

Broadly defined, the survey universe comprises heads of function at medium and large sized business and commercial establishments, defined as having 250 or more employees throughout the US. Some smaller companies, with 150-249 employees, were also included, providing that they met minimum turnover criteria, provisionally in excess of $40 million. The survey also includes national and regional head offices of banks with assets of $500 million or more and insurance companies with 150 or more employees.

For more information, please contact:
Hugh WhiteDirectorIpsos MediaNew York, NY

Full article from

The American business elite are voracious consumers of all media, including business and niche publications, television programming, and Internet content, yet they are highly selective of how they are engaged with different media and the realm of influence per medium.

While some advertisers are interested in helping them with their personal assets—investing or spending on luxury goods—many others revere this group’s influence on business spending. In the IT, financial services, and business world, they are most coveted of all audiences: the illustrious C-suite executives (the chief officers of an organization), senior decision-makers, and the heads of key functional areas that authorize and influence corporate purchasing choices and contracts.

Ipsos Media’s subscription-based U.S. Business Readership Survey (USBRS) of top-tier executives from business, industry, and commercial organizations identifies the clout of this discerning market: the survey’s projected universe of nearly 630,000 C-suite executives are making $1.29 trillion U.S. in business purchase decisions for business services, IT, telecommunications, financial services, insurance services, automotive, and office and industrial equipment, plus 6.3 million business air trips and 11.4 million hotel nights for themselves and their companies.

There are hundreds of media outlets and thousands of advertisers competing for the attention of these power players: few can afford any sort of blanket coverage, and no one can afford to be wasteful. Helping narrow the scope for media buyers, the USBRS database reveals which executives have the greatest sphere of influence, which media the business elite chose first, and which channels are their main information sources.

Tuning in
With the appeal of frequency and timeliness, execs choose network TV as their main source for U.S. news (29% of the projected C-suite universe) and political news (21%), and cable TV for international news (28%) and sports (28%). They turn on the TV first for breaking news (22% watch network news, 35% prefer cable for breaking news), entertainment news (28% tune in to network TV), and sports news (cable TV is the main sports information source for 29%). The Internet dominates for up-to-the minute news from the financial markets, as the web was execs first choice for keeping informed at work (55%).

Media that’s on Target
Customizable, targeted, and niche media found on the Internet are the primary venues for this high-income market to get personal financial information (30% of the projected C-suite universe) and for after-work help (34%). The tailor-made advertising on the Internet is effective too: respondents were most likely to have visited a website after seeing an advertisement on the Internet (46%) and to have purchased a product after seeing an advertisement on the Internet (51%). It’s not all business either: the number one monthly measured publication among business elite surveyed was Golf Digest.

In-Depth Insights
The business elite turn to national newspapers first for deeper understanding of the issues that matter to them, particularly financial and business news (18% of the projected C-suite universe), as they trust newspapers to have the best journalists (28%) and reliable reporting (23%). The Wall Street Journal is their top pick of the dailies (46%).

For keeping abreast of technology, this group of decision-makers prefers business magazines (22%), such as weeklies BusinessWeek (20%), bi-monthly publications such as Fortune (18%) and Forbes (17%), and monthly publications like CFO (15%). Business magazines are also this group’s primary resource for informative advertising (15%), general business help (32%), and information to manage their career development (29%).

The aforementioned results are only a fragment of the findings from the USBRS’s robust database of annual syndicated media research—which includes readership reach, frequency, and value measurements for 52 titles, 10 channels, 85 programs, and 25 sites, questions on business travel and business activities, attitudes and ownership survey information—but they’re a sample of what is provided to media planners to narrow the scope, enabling them to better target the desirable C-suite execs for their business-to-business clients.


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