When it comes to multimedia platform consumption, perhaps the over-riding principle is that's not necessarily about convergence.
During a Tuesday evening seminar at the New York American Marketing Association, ESPN's Research + Analytics Team presented what it called the "Seven Principles of Cross-Media Research."
But the over-arching finding suggests that consumers aren't necessarily spending a lot of time toggling between media.
"The media pie is growing, giving us new markets of time in which to reach people," said ESPN vice president, integrated media research Glenn Enoch. "While earlier speculation focused on convergence, our research shows people are using different media platforms at different times, in different places for different purposes. In ESPN's case, fans will use the best available screen to view the game, catch the highlights or get score updates."
ESPN officials at the seminar noted that it had developed the principles so that executives at the sports programmer would better understand cross-media behavior to serve fans. They also averred that the tenets could be applied across all media.
Based on a suite of single-source and fusion studies, ESPN Research + Analytics maintain that The Seven Principles of Cross-Media Research are as follows:
*New media create new strata of users: When a new technology is introduced, early adopters will gravitate to it, while others will not. As such, the new technology enters a complex matrix of media behavior;
*New metrics are not required in the analysis of cross-media research: It requires metrics that unite behavior across different platforms;
*The focus needs to be both on media users and their usage: It is important to evaluate how many people are using different combinations of media and for what length of time they engage with each platform;
*A heavy user of one medium is a heavy user of other media as well: A person who is a heavy Internet user will tend to watch more TV than average, listen to radio more than average, et. al. This finding was consistent across all studies and is applicable to sports fans specifically and media users as a whole;
*Cross-media usage is not a zero-sum game: Being part of one media behavior more often not mean that a user is engaged in another one less, because the media pie is getting bigger overall. A generation or more ago, media use was constrained to specific locations and limited usage opportunities.. With digital media, constraints are lifted -- as users, in what the researchers labeled ‘new markets of time' -- can consume media throughout the day, wherever they want to;
*Simultaneous usage is widespread but limited: People are using multiple media, but they're not often doing so at the same time. Simultaneous use is a widespread behavior --56% of persons in Nielsen's Convergence Panel watched TV and used the Internet at the same time -- but only did so for a few minutes each day; and
*People choose the best available screen for their location: For ESPN, this means that cross-media behavior isn't about convergence -- it's about the opportunity to follow the sports consumer throughout the day, fulfilling specific needs and building various touchpoints.
Earlier in the day, ESPN officials shared some of their findings from the Disney Media & Advertising Lab in Austin, Texas.