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iPhone Becomes Focus Of Media Measurement Consortium

Major media companies are zeroing in on the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPhone as the key to understanding consumers’ habits with regard to TV, online and mobile. The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), the research initiative formed by major TV networks, agencies and advertisers, is preparing to sign up the Media Behavior Institute (MBI), a New York media-research firm, to help figure it all out — if members can agree on the project’s budget, according to the WSJ.

If CIMM hires MBI, the researcher would provide free iPhones to participants in exchange for recording their media consumption in a “diary app” on the Apple device. The questions would range from what consumers were viewing, who they were with and if they were multitasking. The goal of the effort is to prove to advertisers that people are watching their shows either online or via mobile.

It’s not clear how deeply MBI will be able to go with the research initiative. CIMM is providing about $1 million in funding for the research, which is expected to involve about 1,000 participants. “Right now we are trying to figure out how to make the budget fit the funding,” Jim Spaeth, co-founder of the Media Behavior Institute, tells the WSJ.

At the moment, CIMM has 16 voting members who have paid $100,000 for their two-year membership. The group also has six non-voting members who have forked over $25,000 to participate this year. In all, CIMM has raised a total $1.75 million since forming about a year ago.

The group hasn’t had much to show since issuing its first RFP last October and members are starting to show signs impatience.

Aside from mobile, the main focus of the group is figuring out how to mine set-top box data. Right now, CIMM has completed a glossary of 800 terms related to analyzing set-top box TV data. In the meantime, it’s working on getting a white paper together that will outline what the group expects from set-top box analysis, covering cable, satellite, and telecom providers.