ESPN and the Nielsen company are breaking new ground. The two companies have reached an agreement which will make the worldwide leader in sports, one of the first television networks to regularly incorporate measurement of people watching television outside of their homes. That includes popular establishments such as bars, restaurants, and health clubs where multiple screens may offer the network’s programming.
TV networks have been pushing Nielsen to provide technology which would allow them to keep up with the way people have adjusted watching television. The measurement company says it’s close to being able to measure viewership on all screens in various places, not just television at home.
“No one ever says, ‘let’s go to the sports bar and watch a Ken Burns documentary,’” said ESPN personality Kenny Mayne at the network’s annual upfronts presentation to advertisers.
ESPN chief executive John Skipper believes the new measurement will provide a massive spike for the network’s ratings. He also says they will be an important tool to use in future negotiations when doing business with advertisers. Sports networks have maintained that Nielsen’s metrics have failed to capture all viewing, creating situations where networks don’t receive credit for their total reach and entire audience sizes.
Also during the presentation, advertisers were provided with another example of the way the television business has changed. ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt spoke about the ratings of his midnight edition of “SportsCenter”. Many competitors have pointed out the program’s decline in ratings, and have questioned whether or not the show’s best days are behind it. However, the show’s consumption, reach, and engagement on social media have been very strong.
Van Pelt invited New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard onstage, and asked him where he watches and receives his sports information. Syndergaard, who’s only twenty three years old, said he stays informed through his phone.