In Broadcast - April 2014 - 24


I N T E R N A T I O N A L

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 30 - APRIL 2014

N E W S

InUSA

Why Good Vibrations Matter So Much

Enhanced audio technology promises to improve the customer experience and hence viewer retention...
By Michael Grotticelli
Contributing Editor

S

24

ometimes science can tell
us more about our viewing
habits than traditional audience
measurement methods (and our
own senses) and often those
findings are not what we expect.
Despite the fact that audio has
traditionally been treated like a
"less desirable step child" among
broadcasters when compared to
the resources dedicated to video,
we're now learning that audio can
be more important to the successful
retention of video content than
previously thought.
A new Neuro-Insight (New York)
neurological research study released
at the recent Mobile World Congress
conference in Barcelona has found
that mobile device users prefer to
"watch" video with their ears. The
study, entitled 'Sound Matters,'
was commissioned by DTS, Inc.,
an audio technology provider based
in Calabasas, California, in order to
demonstrate the perceived value of
the DTS Headphone:X "enhanced
audio" technology.
The DTS Headphone:X encoding
technology is designed to make
movies, TV shows, music and
games sound better over any set
of headphones. The company said
it feels like you're listening to highquality speakers placed around
and above you. That's because the
technology was initially targeted at
movie theatres with 11.1 speakers
mounted in front, behind and on
the ceiling of the room for a true
surround sound experience.
Neuro-Insight is a global
neuromarketing firm that uses brainimaging technology to measure
the consumer's response to
communications. The company said
it measures implicit and unsolicited
responses to any kind of stimulus
on any platform and from that they
can gather unique insights into the
consumer's real response to how a
creative, content or piece of design is
affecting them at both a rational and
an emotional level. Neuro-Insight
said its proprietary Steady-State
Topography (SST) technology is both
diagnostic and predictive in nature,
making it a powerful evaluation tool
that has been used by a wide range
of clients that includes major TV
networks in the US.
The point of this particular study
was to show that audio files

encoded in the DTS Headphone:X
virtual surround sound algorithm
require very little bandwidth and
thus broadcasters can deliver audio
content at a much lower cost than
higher quality video," according to
Geir Skaaden, Senior Vice President
for audio technology company DTS,
Inc. "Operators who re-balance
their use of bandwidth to offer
enhanced audio will not only save
money, but they will also deliver
an immediate improvement in the
customer experience."
Skaaden said the 'Sound Matters'
study contains valuable insight for
mobile operators and online video
distributors that could impact the
way they manage and maximise
available bandwidth.

Geir Skadden,
DTS

"

...enhanced audio will
not only save money,
but they will also
deliver an immediate
improvement in the
customer experience

"

The study found that audio is a
key component of a rewarding (and
memorable) audio-visual experience,
even when the video quality was not
as high, as compared to seeing the
same visual stimulus with higher
quality video but ordinary audio. By
measuring the brain activity and
impulses of viewers watching mobile
video, researchers at New Yorkbased neuro-marketing firm NeuroInsight were able to show that audio
delivered in the DTS Headphone:X
format generated a much bigger
pleasure reaction than video.
"Headphone:X audio was the clear
winner in this study," said Pranav
Yadav, CEO of Neuro-Insight. "When
we switched to enhanced audio,
the patterns of brain activity seen
were similar to those seen when

DTS' goal is to bring immersive, multichannel sound found in movie theatres to
personal headphones

we eat something we find enjoyable,
hear a funny joke or, for that matter,
anticipating the 'high' associated
with an addictive drug. Increasing
the video quality did not achieve the
same results or reactions."
"The study shows conclusively that
streaming an audio track enhanced
with Headphone:X alongside a
standard definition video delivers
increased enjoyment over even the
highest quality - and bandwidth
hungry - video," Skaaden said. "In
streaming video, the audio track
is the key component for user
enjoyment and engagement."
At the World Mobile Congress
conference, DTS demonstrated its
Headphone:X technology, which
delivers a high-quality surround
sound experience through any
standard set of headphones. As part
of the demonstration, visitors to the
DTS stand were given a small MP3
player with earbud headphones
featuring audio tracks of differing
quality levels, including one that
applies the DTS Headphone:X
technology. Most chose the
Headphone:X-encoded material
over several other popular formats.
The 'Sound Matters'study involved
more than 100 men and women
age 18-35. All of the testers were
regular users of mobile phones and
tablet PCs for mobile entertainment.
The group was shown four pieces
of video content with quality
adjustments made to audio and
video components. Content was
viewed on a tablet and the audio
was delivered through standard
earbuds. The sequence of video
clips was varied across the group.
The viewers' neuro-reactions
were measured using NeuroInsight's proprietary SST technology,

and were analysed using five
different metrics:
Long-term memory encoding:
A measure of how much the brain
is remembering;
Engagement: A measure of
content's personal relevance;
The Hedonic Index: A measure
that equates broadly to how likeable
an experience is;
Emotional Intensity: The strength
of any emotional response;
Attention: Measures how much
visual attention is being paid
to the content.
Overall, switching to Headphone:X
from standard-quality audio
generated an average increase of
42% in the "Hedonic Index" across
all video qualities, demonstrating
greater enjoyment of the content
by the test subject.
Interestingly, the biggest
increase in enjoyment came when
Headphone:X audio was added
to medium quality video - a 66%
increase. Adding Headphone:X
audio to low-quality video generated
a 29% increase, while adding it to
high-quality video added a 35%
increase in enjoyment on the
Hedonic Index.
In contrast, maintaining the audio
quality and varying the video quality
had very little impact - movements
of less than 1% across the board.
The impact of changes in video
quality on tablets was statistically
insignificant. The Neuro-Insight
study concluded that only
enhanced audio made a significant
statistical difference across any of
the measures.
In the world of mobile video
consumption, using advanced
encoding techniques, maybe audio
will get some respect after all.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - April 2014

In Broadcast - April 2014 - Intro
In Broadcast - April 2014 - Cover1
In Broadcast - April 2014 - Cover2
In Broadcast - April 2014 - 3
In Broadcast - April 2014 - 4
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In Broadcast - April 2014 - S1
In Broadcast - April 2014 - S2
In Broadcast - April 2014 - S3
In Broadcast - April 2014 - S4
In Broadcast - April 2014 - S5
In Broadcast - April 2014 - S6
In Broadcast - April 2014 - S7
In Broadcast - April 2014 - S8
In Broadcast - April 2014 - S9
In Broadcast - April 2014 - S10
In Broadcast - April 2014 - S11
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