NielsenConnect, ESPN Deal Paves Way For Holistic Media Buys
NielsenConnect will combine metered data from in-house People Meters and the Nielsen//NetRatings Internet service as the basis for the new TV/Internet Convergence Panel.
ESPN will also combine this converged data with results from its syndicated tracking survey (called the ESPN Sports Poll) that monitors general fan profiles, viewing habits and event attendance for a more in-depth analysis of the findings with regard to sports industry trends.
To measure ESPN mobile content engagement, NielsenConnect will fuse the statistically connected data from its pre-existing TV/Internet fusion product to data from the Nielsen Mobile service (which measures mobile Web and mobile video usage). The combination will allow measurement of the unduplicated reach of ESPN's programming on three screens, the percentage of overlap, and the user breakdowns by market and demographic.
While the new development focuses squarely on measuring sports fan engagement with ESPN's properties, both parties look forward to seeing the insights and metrics derived from the model be applied to cross-platform buying for all advertisers.
"There's constant talk of cross-media campaigns, but we can't make cross-media as successful as it should be without measurable, reliable accountability," said Artie Bulgrin, senior vice president, research and sales development for ESPN. "It's really the Holy Grail of the industry, and this perhaps, is part of the solution."
According to Yaakov Kimelfeld, vice president, director of digital research and analytics, at MediaVest, it moves the industry a step closer to truly holistic media buys, because it will give planners and buyers a way to "make more intelligent decisions on how to allocate media budgets between analog and digital properties."
Although the current partnership has relatively limited initial value (since it will only yield analysis of ESPN's audience habits)--it's clear that "Nielsen is trying to understand advertisers' problems," said Kimelfeld--"and help them create integrated plans that are tailored to the nature of the message as opposed to the medium."
According to Bulgrin, ESPN is aiming to extend the cross-media measurement to analysis of its radio and print properties--although bringing the initial sample size to at least 500 households will be key to developing any meaningful, qualified data for client analysis.
Bulgrin also acknowledged that gaining a more complete view of multiple platform media consumption would require audience-tracking in the workplace and on portable media--but this first, household-focused endeavor is a "great place to start, because the biggest chunk of cross-media activity goes on inside the home."
The new partnership announced by Nielsen Connect, led by CEO Jon Mandel, comes on the heels of the audience measurement giant's reorganization of its Nielsen Online and Nielsen Wireless divisions. Nielsen has also rolled out a slew of product upgrades this year--from its measurement of page views, widgets, blogs and gaming activity to the inclusion of DVR viewing behavior in its TV listings.