ESPN, Nielsen pact on ad numbers

Deal to harvest more reliable results

ESPN has engineered a deal with Nielsen to harvest more reliable numbers for the advertisers who buy ESPN spots on TV as well as on the Internet and on cell phones.

What ESPN wants to know, said Artie Bulgrin, senior VP of research and sales development, is how its viewers watch the network across various platforms and, for example, whether promos on ESPN.com are driving viewers to watch programs on their TV sets.

“ESPN is a true multimedia company, with a mission to serve sports fans any time, anywhere, and via any device,” said Nielsen Connect CEO Jon Mandel. Nielsen has promised, Mandel said, to “provide unique insights into the fast-changing habits of today’s media users.”

Deal reps the first deployment of Nielsen’s TV/Internet Convergence Panel, a household sample being set up to measure TV and Internet use within the same home.

Goal of the research partnership is to determine the demographic breakdown of the people who watch ESPN shows solely on TV and of those who seek out programs on ESPN’s website and its mobile-video platform.