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ESPN and Nielsen collaborate to measure sports programming across multiple platforms

ESPN and Nielsen are collaborating to measure the performance of ESPN’s sports programming across multiple media platforms, including digital mobile devices.

In addition to mobile media, the collaboration will cover television and the Internet. Nielsen, through its NielsenConnect division, will attempt to produce a unified picture of how viewers are accessing media content across different platforms.

The partnership will enable buyers and sellers of TV advertising on ESPN’s sports programs to understand more completely the interaction of new digital platforms with traditional TV viewing. Nielsen wants to work with the mobile side of the equation because it is “an obvious growth area for media information,” Gary Holmes, chief press officer for the company, told Mobile TV Update. “It’s important to understand the connection between TV, Internet and mobile media because we want to gain insight into how these various media interact with each other to drive consumption.”

Artie Bulgrin, senior VP, research sales and development for ESPN, told Mobile TV Update that “finding a reliable cross media measurement solution is the Holy Grail, and this new relationship with NielsenConnect will help us gain critical insight toward that goal.”

The initiative will include the first deployment of Nielsen’s new TV/Internet Convergence Panel, a group of about 1000 households that will simultaneously report their TV usage via Nielsen’s TV people meters and their Internet usage via NetRatings’ NetSite personal computer meter. It will also link research data from Nielsen Mobile and other measurement sources to evaluate cross-media usage. Several ESPN advertisers will have the opportunity to link in and study insights about their advertising on ESPN platforms.

To measure the impact of ESPN content on mobile devices, Nielsen will combine its existing TV/Internet fusion product with data from its recently acquired Telephia service, which measures mobile Web and video usage. With this, ESPN will be able to measure the unduplicated reach of its traditional TV programming, and ESPN mobile video; the overlap across the platforms; and illustrate the demographic and market break composition of various combinations of audiences.

The partnership between ESPN and Nielsen was announced shortly after Nielsen launched its two new mobile and Internet measurement services, Nielsen Online and Nielsen Mobile.

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