Creative Research and Emotional DNA. Q&A with Mike Bloxham

Mike Bloxham might be best known in research circles for his work at Ball State University where his ethnographic study set the pace on ascertaining consumer device usage and adoption. Now, as SVP National Television and Video for Frank N. Magid Associates, Bloxham is working on a range of studies that incorporate both qualitative and quantitative applications across all video delivery platform initiatives.

In this fascinating interview, Bloxham talks about his current work with EmotionalDNA™, his past work at Ball State, the impact of smart TV, how cord cutting is actually cord morphing, measuring cross platform, the future of advertising and what will be the dominating media trend in the next few years.

There are five videos in the interview that can be viewed at

Subject                                                                 length (minutes)
Background and Magid                                       7:30
Ball State                                                             9:46
Emotional DNA                                                   8:25
Predictions and Cord Morphing                         6:33
TV, Cross Platform, Mobile                               7:55

Charlene Weisler interviews Mike Bloxham who talks about his background and his work at Magid in this 7:30 minute video:

Mike Bloxham talks to Charlene Weisler about his work on ethnography at Ball State in this 9:46 minute video:

CW: What is EmotionalDNA™?

MB:  It’s effectively a viewer-derived portrait of prime time. It is based upon how TV viewers describe TV shows and TV networks as opposed to the way we in the industry define them. So it creates a different kind of taxonomy, a different lexicon for the way in which shows are defined by those viewers and it enables us to compare shows on a very different basis. We see that shows that are most like each other in the eyes of viewers aren’t necessarily shows which, on the surface, appear to be like each other.  So two unscripted shows based in Alaska might be very, very different in terms of emotional tonalities as far as the viewers are concerned. It may be that one of them is much more like sports programming or highly intense dramas, for example. In fact, that is true of one Alaska based unscripted show.

CW: Are you working with any networks on Emotional DNA?

MB: We have been working with A+E looking at EmotionalDNA™ as a means of defining emotional tonality of both programs and ads and understanding how ad receptivity can be impacted by the extent to which emotional tonality either matches or mismatches to varying degrees. And with other factors like the extent to which somebody likes a show is also a factor in improving ad receptivity. Which I can tell you it certainly is, looking at our data.

Charlene Weisler interviews Magid SVP Mike Bloxham about Emotional DNA. What is it? View this 8:25 minute video:

What could the media landscape look like in 3 - 5 years? Charlene Weisler asked Mike Bloxham who shared his Predictions and the concept of Cord Morphing in this 6:33 minute video:

CW: Mike, how do you think the media landscape will look five years from now?

MB: I am going to answer that question the way I have been answering it for the last ten years, which is simply to say “more”. There is going to be more complexity, more fragmentation, more functionality.  You will see more media with greater degrees of functionality. Television may finally cease to be the least sophisticated and most primitive screen available to us, albeit the granddaddy of them all in terms of reach and frequency. So I would just say “more” in pretty much any dimension you can think of. We are going to have more engagement with more compelling content because compelling content is what is going to enable businesses to survive.

CW: And what about the future of advertising?

MB: I think we are going to get smarter advertisers because the one thing I think is possibly going to change very significantly is the way in which brands reach people. And I don’t think it is anything as simplistic as what we call native advertising (which I am not a great fan of) but I do think that advertisers are going to realize as we see more time shifted viewing of one sort or another whether it is SVOD or DVR or VOD, I think there is going to be an overhaul in how we think about reaching people. Live TV is not going away. Thirty second spots are not going away. I don’t have that much patience for those who say they have gone away. Or for those who say TV is dead. But I do think there is going to be more creativity and inventive thinking in how brands engage with consumers both directly through what we conventionally define as media and the media of everyday experience off air, off line and out in people’s lives.   

In this final video, Mike Bloxham talks to Charlene Weisler about TV, Cross platform and Mobile in this 7:55 minute video:

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