The 1-3-9 Media Lab is a longitudinal research project that is industry neutral which uses digital-ethnography  to examine early-majority behaviour around 3 screens – TV (9 feet), Laptop/PC (3 feet) and Smart Phone or Tablet (1 foot). The lab is currently on pause.

History of the 1-3-9 Media Lab

  • Winter 2014: Phase 7 - ‘Going Beyond Engagement.’ In contrast to Phase 6 this phase of research focused on developments in a smaller number of households in the UK with more devices. Each home had at least two tablets in addition to mobiles and laptops and the latest TV offerings. The research addressed the key questions posed by members from the last members meeting post Phase 6 results. The research for this phase looked in detail at the emotional needs from the devices, the control of the technology; use of remote; voice and motion; use of apps on the second screen; appetite for exploration and engagement. The research was financed by the BBC and ACB.
  • Summer/Autumn/Winter 2012/13: Phase 6 - ‘The Three Peaks’ concerned peaks of engagement for three different viewing experiences and how viewers are using their second screens over a period of 8 months. One of the main questions which Phase 6 sought to answer was the propensity of a broad based audience to use complementary apps. The first peak was during the 17 days of  the London 2012 Olympics, the second was the autumn viewing schedule with shows like Xfactor and I’m a Celeb, and the third was the Super Bowl where ACB observed families from New York and Connecticut in order to gain a U.S perspective. Results were presented to members in April 2013, including Skype and the BBC.
  • Autumn 2011: Phase 5 - ‘Connected Devices and Simultaneous Use’ observed the installation of Smart TVs and their usage in combination with other connected devices. In addition this phase included more detailed observation of tablet usage, and looked at how Kinect and Virgin TiVo affected behaviour. This research was financed by Microsoft, BBC, Sky, Samsung, Skype and ITV.
  • Autumn 2010: Phase 4 - ‘The Paradox of Choice’. Technology such as the iPad, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and larger PVR hard-drives afforded participants in this phase the wider range of choice on different screens. This research included capture on mobile phones in addition to other devices and the TV. Results were presented to members including Ofcom, BBC, Starcom MediaVest, Microsoft and Sky and Channel 4 at Microsoft HQ in London
  • Spring 2009: Phase 3 was shaped by interests in the drivers of brand and content. Broadband speeds were upgraded and Apple TV was introduced. Results as with previous studies were released at LBS.
  • Autumn 2008: Phase 2 examined how behaviour had changed after the launch of BBC iPlayer and the introduction of laptops and media extenders in the lounge. The lab was supported by Ofcom, IAB, All 3 Media, Fremantle and Channel 4.
  • Autumn 2007: Phase 1 delivered a base line of viewing behaviour of homes with PVRs looking at use of TV and PC’s. The Lab was kick-started by a consortium comprising Ofcom, Channel 4, Orange, IPA, BT Vision, IAB, Five, All 3 Media, History Channel and Fremantle.

Ad-Hoc Projects

Alongside the 1-3-9 Longitudinal Media Lab, ACB runs a number of different projects for clients such as Postar, NHS, DFS, CAP and Xbox.


The strength of the lab lies in its ability to draw upon longitudinal insights to understand behavioural change over time. Over the next year it is planned that the lab will also be established in the US, Asia and the Middle East, to provide a global, qualitative human perspective.

  • Mobile capture innovation: ACB has been developing innovative methodologies to enable the remote capture of behaviour on the mobile phone and tablet - the results of these studies have been presented to 1-3-9 consortium members each year. March 2008 - present.
  • Impact of telemedicine on behaviour: Two Pilot studies for NHS 2010 and 2011 – to consider impact of video link remote consultations on patient and consultant. Presented by NHS at Renal Kidney Society Conference, Manchester May 2012.
  • Industry body Postar commissioned ACB to conduct an observational study on over 200 train passengers in Summer/ Autumn 2009. This ground breaking observational research in context developed a bespoke coding system to measure the length of glances outside of the window and the impact of other contextual factors such as time of day, seating position, journey, bus stops/train stations and concurrent behaviours.
  • Engagement Research. A video ethnographic study of viewing behaviour towards TV adverts in natural context plus a study into implicit and explicit recall. June 2006 - March 2007: Study carried out for Thinkbox; the television marketing body for the main UK commercial broadcasters - for details contact
  • Impact of the PVR on viewing behaviour and its implications for advertising - A large scale qualitative study in conjunction with the London Business School for consortia OFCOM, Channel 4, FIVE, ITV and Initiative. September 2005 - June 2006.
  • Impact of smart home technology of the future on behaviour entitled: Using the Media to Message the Consumer - An extended natural context analysis looking at aspects of behaviour in relation to: energy and utility efficiency; recycling; remote control and home computing and entertainment.


If you have any comments on any of the projects or events above, or would like more information please email us at: