Lost in some of last week’s hoopla around an ESPN cross-platform measurement initiative was Telemundo embarking on a similar effort. The Spanish-language media company is looking to measure behavior among Hispanics across four segments: TV, online, mobile and social.
ESPN’s Project Blueprint offered some extraordinary results, notably ESPN content reached more than 70% of U.S. men in February. Funded by ESPN and conducted by Arbitron and comScore, the aim is to establish an industry-wide service offering five-screen measurement across radio, TV, PCs, smartphones and tablets.
Telemundo may be less ambitious, but no less focused on collecting single-source data that could attract advertisers and assist with program strategy. The project it’s commissioned will use resources from both Symphony Advanced Media (SymphonyAM), which collects data on multi-media usage, and Vision Critical, which develops panels.
(Partly because panels have come to carry a negative connotation in the research business, Vision Critical refers to them as “communities.")
The Telemundo multi-media research marks the first time SymphonyAM and Vision Critical have worked together. Technology from SymphonyAM will allow for so-called passive measurement, where a mobile app tracks both TV viewing and behavior on mobile devices, including with social media. Online usage will be tracked by meters installed in PCs.
The research will use two panels, looking to hone in on a pair of Hispanic demographics. One will include 4,500 Spanish-dominant speakers. Within that group, 1,000 participants will carry the app-based passive meters, while 3,500 will use online surveys.
The second panel will monitor 500 bilingual millennials with all carrying the meters. Telemundo’s mun2 network targets the demo, so the research is of particular interest at the company.
SymphonyAM maintains a panel of about 7,500, where it looks to produce single-source, cross-platform data. But Telemundo is the first brand to commission custom research.
Content from all sources, not just Telemundo properties, will be measured. The research offers opportunities with what looks to be an unusual degree of personalization. Telemundo can gain insight into a particular participant's behavior and then follow up with them.
Gregg Liebman, Telemundo senior vice president in ad sales insights and strategy, said a sturdy single-source sample needs the ability to collect data on “the what” through the passive meters and then “the why” through dialogue.
Unlike ESPN, Telemundo has no exclusive agreement with the two research companies. So, SymphonyAM and Vision Critical could use the project as a test and then look for more clients eager for custom research.
The Telemundo project is related to work SymphonyAM did for the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) that looked to show passive meters can upgrade cross-platform measurement.
It’s hard not to evaluate cross-platform projects these days without reflecting on the potential impact on the pending Nielsen acquisition of Arbitron. Some would suggest any hint that deal would curtail advancements in the critical and emerging measurement space means the FTC should nix it.
Certainly, the Telemundo initiative could offer a blueprint for another model, which might help a Nielsen argument that innovation isn’t limited.
With its research, Telemundo has a chance to track usage of smartphones and tablets while watching TV. But, more granularly, it might be able to cut through all the hype around second-screening. How many people are really using sync apps that link TV and online content (be it programming or advertising)?
“We’ll know exactly who chose to have the two-screen experience,” said Liebman.
In April, Telemundo began using the Zeebox app in conjunction with the “Latin Billboard Awards.” Encouraging research might prompt it to move more aggressively.