ARF Licenses Comprehensive Universe Study to Solve for Digital Fragmentation

ARF’s Study of Device and Account Sharing (DASH) provides cohesive understanding of device, media and ecommerce usage across individuals and households

New York, NY – The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) today announced that the results of the ARF Universe Study of Device and Account Sharing (DASH) are now available to license, giving users a cohesive understanding of device, media and ecommerce usage at individual and household levels.

To showcase the breadth and granularity of DASH, the ARF released a report to accompany the launch, which includes findings such as:

  • TV brands have distinct demographic profiles: Sony skews towards higher income, Samsung over indexes on Hispanic while LG under indexes. Measurement companies that have access to ACR data from a limited number of OEMs need to account for these skews in their viewing data.
  • Couples are more likely to watch TV together: The heaviest co-viewing occurs at dinner time and prime time. Interestingly, two person households do as much co-viewing as four person households during these dayparts. This suggests that even in larger households, children and their parents may tend to go to their own televisions or devices after dinner. Not surprisingly, among the SVOD services, Disney+ is the most co-viewed.
  • Consumers use multiple email addresses: A third of all people with emails have more than one email and, in fact, tend to use all the emails they have. This complicates the use of hashed emails alone as a match key.

Announced last summer and fielded systematically over six months, DASH produces a rich, reliable data map of how Americans use their devices for video, audio and ecommerce. The study breaks down usage and sharing of digital media and ecommerce on three dimensions: People and households; TVs and devices, including brands and modes of access; and services, including streaming media and premium ecommerce accounts, apps, social media and email.

“The fragmentation and scale of digital media present challenges in understanding usage at both the individual and household level,” said Paul Donato, Chief Research Officer at ARF. “Nearly every user has multiple profiles across a wide array of services, and they share devices and accounts with family and friends. Complicating matters further, each provider’s view of usage is limited to its own system. It is a highly granular study which mimics the signals that measurement companies collect electronically. This permits modeling of the data, such as demographics that is not contained in the electronic big data sets they have. The data can help estimate universes, assess strategies, weight panels, correct biases and gaps in large data sets, build better projection models, and more.”

In partnership with NORC at the University of Chicago, the survey was conducted online, in person and by phone to a sample of 10,400 adults, with an additional sample of teens between ages 13 to 17. NORC’s proprietary AmeriSpeak panel forms the backbone of the study and its rigorous audit process ensures high-quality response data. Experian, Innovid, The NPD Group, 605, Verizon, VideoAmp and Neustar, a TransUnion company, sponsored the development work and advised on the design of the study.

Moving forward, the DASH study will be conducted annually, with the 2022 study to begin in the second quarter. The ARF is offering access licenses to DASH data to ARF members and non-members, with the goal of creating a cost-efficient, accurate and comprehensive standard for the benefit of the industry.

For more information about DASH and licensing opportunities, visit:

About The ARF

Founded more than 80 years ago, the ARF is dedicated to creating, curating and sharing objective, industry-level advertising research to enable members to make a true impact on their advertising and build marketing leadership within their organizations. It has more than 400 members from leading brand advertisers, agencies, research firms and media-tech companies. For more information, visit