A record number of people watched the FIFA 2010 World Cup on ESPN. Even more watched on online and via mobile, listened on radio, checked in online and perused ESPN the Magazine.
In short, FIFA's famed futbol tourney provided ESPN with a unique laboratory to examine multiplatform behavior of consumer and the results of cross-platform advertising.
The first take away from the study, dubbed ESPN XP, was that multiple platforms don't cannibalize TV viewing, said Glenn Enoch, vice president integrated media research, at ESPN. In fact, the more platforms consumers used, the more TV they watched on average.
For the big numbers, ESPN's research found that 160.5 million American's consumed ESPN content over 31 days. It also had an average TV audience of 3.3 million. It found that 22% of Americans tried a new ESPN platform over the course of the tourney and when the final whistle sounded, the average World Cup consumer averaged using 2.3 platforms per day. The 1.5 million viewers watching World Cup matches online provided a 46% lift in viewership, bringing the total number of consumers to 4.8 million.
Platform use is driven by the location of the consumer. At home TV is the screen of choice, while at the office, the Internet is the best available platform. For out of home, radio is big, while mobile tends to be used both out of home and in home.
Cross platform is not a zero-sum game, Enoch said.
For advertising, Enoch said that degree multiple platform exposure strengthened ad campaigns. For one advertiser, awareness of a new product rose from 52% using TV and mobile to 78% when the magazine was added to the mix. Radio increased the awareness to 85% and the Internet ratcheted it up to 86%.
"The more platforms, the more the affinity for these brands grew, also purchase intent," he said.
Different platforms appear to have different strengths in terms of achieving specific marketing goals, such as unaided recall, slogan retention and purchase intent.
Enoch said that ESPN is in the middle of performing similar cross-platform measurement for its college and pro football coverage.
Enoch said ESPN's goal was to move cross-platform measurement from being a special project to a standard practices with links to existing media currencies and ad performance research.
"We're not here to replace existing currencies," he said. "We just need to understand how to get them to play together."