ESPN reveals initial results from Project Blueprint

Preliminary findings from its multiplatform measurement system are quite encouraging.
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ESPN has released the preliminary findings from Project Blueprint, a new five-platform measurement initiative across all of its video distribution platforms that it launched in collaboration with digital analytics firms Arbitron and comScore.

The study was designed to measure changing consumption of video, audio and display content across radio, television, PCs, smartphones and tablets. ESPN said the release of the first month of data shows that Project Blueprint’s hybrid approach can provide a multiplatform measurement system with the scale and granularity necessary to meet the needs of the media and advertising industry.

The data was presented at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement 8.0 Conference in New York City.

Artie Bulgrin, senior vice president of Research and Analytics, said Project Blueprint provides unique insight into crossplatform usage and a level of precision that was not possible previously.

Key findings of the research revealed that ESPN’s total reach for the first month of data (February 2013) across TV and digital content was 136 million adults and 85 million men. This, said ESPN, represents 57 percent of U.S. adults, and 72 percent of U.S. men.

In the average week, ESPN’s digital properties provide a reach lift of 18 percent for adults and 23 percent for men, over the reach of the company’s TV networks alone. Over a week, 33 percent of ESPN’s users and 38 percent of male users used ESPN Digital Media either in combination with TV or exclusively.

The study found that men who are multiplatform consumers of ESPN content spend twice as much time with the brand as single-platform consumers. The more digital platforms a sports fan uses, the more time they spend with ESPN digital content — and they also spend more time watching ESPN on TV.

The tablet user, who spends over 19 hours per month with all types of content, is ESPN’s best customer the data found. That's more than three times greater than the average user.

“The data on patterns of crossmedia usage that we get from Project Blueprint will help us to serve sports fans better, and will help advertisers better understand shifts in media consumption,” said Glenn Enoch, vice president of Integrated Media Research. “We look forward to getting even more insight as comScore and Arbitron produce a fully integrated model this summer.”

ESPN engaged Arbitron and comScore in Project Blueprint to test whether its hybrid methodology could provide a basis for a service offering to all media companies, advertisers and agencies to measure and understand the audience size, composition and impact of media content and marketing efforts as listened to and viewed across several platforms. Project Blueprint was announced in September 2012.